The sun rises over an oil field at the Monterey Shale formation on March 24, 2014, near Lost Hills, California. (Credit: David McNew/Getty Images)
The Trump administration on Thursday detailed its plan to open more than a million acres of public and private land in California to fracking, raising environmental concerns at a time when opposition to oil and gas drilling in the state is intensifying.
The action would end a five-year moratorium on leasing federal land in California to oil and gas developers. That pause came after a federal judge ordered the Obama administration to halt similar leasing efforts until it could better evaluate the environmental risks of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking.
Trump’s plan – first proposed by the administration in 2018 — targets public and private land spread across eight counties in Central California: eastern Fresno, western Kern, Kings, Madera, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Ventura.
The move drew immediate criticism from environmentalists, who said it would pose health risks and worsen air quality in a part of the state notorious for pollution.