Bloomberg reports that the Monterey Shale formation is estimated to have 15.4 billion barrels of recoverable oil. A study from the University of Southern California found that developing those resources could generate 2.8 million jobs and $24.6 billion in government revenues by 2020.
Fracking involves injecting fluids into cracks in rock formations to widen them and allow more oil and gas to escape, increasing the amounts that can be recovered.
However, environmentalists have expressed concerns that fracking will harm water and air quality within the state.
“Fracking is simply not worth the high costs to California’s environment, public health and agricultural industry,” writes Adam Scow, the California campaigns director for Food and Water Watch. “Rather than roll over for the oil and gas industry, Gov. Jerry Brown should focus on ensuring that California stays a global leader in the burgeoning clean energy economy.”
Update: “The legislature is taking an appropriately assertive stand on fracking with the moratorium. It’s time to stop expanding a dangerous practice,” said Kathryn Phillips, director of Sierra Club California, in an emailed statement. “With the recent attention to the Monterey Shale formation, parts of California already impaired by air and groundwater pollution are at risk of becoming a pincushion as Big Oil tries to expand fracking. A moratorium is the only way we can ensure that the public is adequately protected from dirty, dangerous fracking practices.”
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