Elk Grove Sports

Sac Ad

If the Ninth District State Assembly Race were held today, who would you vote for?

Download The Elk Grove News App [Android only] or at Google's Play Store - Search Elk Grove News

Download The Elk Grove News App [Android only] or at Google's Play Store - Search Elk Grove News

EGN Archives

EGN Search


Store Employee Sustains Head Injury During Elk Grove Shoplifting Incident

Written By EGN on Friday, April 18, 2014 | 11:15

April 18, 2014 |

A retail employee sustained a head injury in Elk Grove last night during a shoplifting incident.

According to Elk Grove Police, three unknown females entered the Bath and Body Works store on East Stockton Boulevard shortly before 8 p.m. and were observed shoplifting merchandise. When the suspects exited the store with the merchandise, they were approached by an employee. 

A fourth male suspect was outside the store waiting in a vehicle, and when the employee attempted to detain the three suspects, the male suspect exited the vehicle and forced the employee to the ground. The employee suffered a head injury after being forced to the ground. 

The four suspects fled in a silver truck with paper plates in an unknown direction. Responding officers were unable to locate the suspects or the vehicle involved.

11:15 | 0 comments | Read More

Anti-SLAPP Status Ruling Affirmed Today; Detrick v Conley Dismissed

Written By EGN on Thursday, April 17, 2014 | 15:50

April 17, 2014 |

A tentative ruling issued last Thursday that said Elk Grove community activist Connie Conley was being subjected to a so-called SLAPP lawsuit was affirmed today.

Conley, who was being sued for defamation by Elk Grove resident Brian Detrick, son of Elk Grove City Council Member Steve Detrick, has asserted the action was a strategic lawsuit against public participation, commonly known as SLAPP lawsuit. As the name implies, SLAPP's are used to stymie public participation and are illegal in California.

In today’s ruling, Sacramento Superior Court Judge David Brown said that the two April, 2013 emails from Conley questioning Detrick’s legal status as a commercial fundraiser, the basis of his defamation suit, were matters of public concern. Because of this, Brown wrote that it is unlikely Detrick has a reasonable chance of prevailing on his cause. 

Although the preliminary ruling favoring Conley was issued on Thursday, April 10, Detrick’s attorney Daniel Stouder of Boutin Jones, requested oral arguments on Friday, April 11. During that hearing, Stouder argued that Detrick was not engaged as a commercial fundraiser at the time Conley’s emails were sent, and, therefore were not a matter of public interest.

At the April 11 hearing, Brown said he was not inclined to reverse his ruling. With today’s ruling, Brown affirmed that even if Detrick had not been conducting commercial fundraising in 2012 and 2013, he was notified by the State Attorney General’s office that he had to register for 2011 so, therefore, Conley’s assertions were reasonable.  

Brown wrote; “Plaintiff was [their emphasis] in violation of state law in 2011, as he was required to register and file annual statements as a commercial fundraiser. The fact that it has not been legally established that he would be required to register in 2012 and 2013, does not make defendant’s [Conley] emails defamatory.” 

Conley’s attorney Jeff Kravitz said because Detrick’s lawsuit was determined to be a SLAPP, Brown’s decision ends his case. Under state law, Kravitz said Conley can recover her legal expenses from Detrick.

“The next step is for the filing of my attorney's fee request that Detrick will be obligated to pay,” Kravitz said,

"This is a great victory for the people of Elk Grove and California,” he added. “You just can’t sue people for discussing public issues.”

15:50 | 1 comments | Read More

Elk Grove Police Arrest Man After Allegedly Shooting at Former Girlfriend's Car

April 17, 2014 |

Elk Grove Police arrested a Sacramento man last night after he allegedly shot a car occupied by his former girlfriend in the very early hours of Wednesday.

According to police reports, the two female victims were in a car near Heather Gate Way and Rose Point Court, when 25-year old Phillip Brown exited a car that was parked nearby, ran towards the car and began shooting the car. Brown's accomplice, 25-year old Johnathan Conner of Sacramento was in the driver's seat of the parked car.

The car was struck several times, but the victims were not hit. After shooting, Brown ran back to the car that was driven away by Conner.

Through investigative efforts, and with the assistance of the Sacramento Police Department, Conner was located yesterday afternoon in Sacramento and was arrested. Last night Brown was located at a Sacramento residence and arrested.

Both suspects remain  in custody at the county jail with bail set at $100,000 for Brown and Conner at $75,000.    

10:36 | 0 comments | Read More

Chew's Reviews - 'Under The Skin' and 'Transcendence'

By Gary Chew | April 17, 2014 |
“Under The Skin” lingers only briefly on the dermatological. But the dermis is important to this rather unique film by Jonathan Glazer. The English director and writer blew me away with his 2000 film that hangs in my memory so well: “Sexy Beast.”
With that in mind, I knew I had to see “Under The Skin” and besides, Scarlett Johansson is in nearly every scene.
To precisely say what “Under The Skin” is about is not easy. Let me try though.
There's a predatory female (Johansson) who seems to be, in a very non sci-fi way, an extraterrestrial. (No, this isn't “K-PAX 2.”) Under the guise of promising sex with solitary men, she performs (I guess that's the right word to use) surreal acts or actions that render the males as ... something else. I'll let you see what that “something else” is, then you give it your definition.
The film borders on the boring because of simple, creepy, repetitious forays Johansson's character has with the doomed men she targets. Many insertions of short scenes that imply a slight advance in time don't set up what's about to happen in the next. The close of a scene doesn't give much as to what changes or advances the narrative. Continuity is not its long suit. It could be said that Glazer has purposefully made his film vague. But he has made it visually stunning and pregnant with dread.
What's gradually perceptible is a subtle change in Johansson's character. Initially, she's internally cold and unemotional --- cunning. Early in the third act, her character becomes narcissistic. She begins closely observing her face in mirrors, and then, yes … her body, totally.
Slowly following the more self-absorbed attitude, her circumstance --- in  some way --- is altered. Now the woman is a victim, no longer the predator.
Yes, nothing happens quickly in “Under The Skin.” For me it runs about 15 to 20 minutes too long. But that doesn't mean you won't be giving it a good deal of attention. Glazer's ominous tone, the muddled sounds of voices and noises and non-musical music cause one to want to know more about what the hell is going on. The visuals, whether during scenes filmed in the UK, striking places of Scotland … or several much different ones that could have come from the mind of Salvador Dali ... are terrific. Describing them would make the movie less enjoyable --- if that's also the right word to use.
There's a parallel between “Under The Skin” and the myriad vampire movies and TV shows. The feature film that readily comes to my mind for having a common tone is “Let The Right One In,” an excellent, chilling, realistic vampire picture from Sweden that was also an American re-make titled, “Let Me In.” What's different is that Johansson's character is not a vampire; but skin and ultimately what surges under the epidermis are common to either film. It just takes Glazer nearly 2 hours to get to that which surges under the skin of his movie.
I suggest some of what Jonathan Glazer has put to his latest picture is being looked at through the “eyes of Stanley Kubrick” or imagined through eyes of an ill-defined alien who's trying to adjust to life on Earth. But what it is that brings this alien to our planet remains opaque, except for whatever surfaces in your mind when you see “Under The Skin.”
Meanwhile, it's all techie all the time in the new Johnny Depp movie “Transcendence.” Depp's a terribly intelligent neuroscientist on faculty over at UC-Berkeley. He plays Dr. Will Caster, an iconic figure in today's world of advancing technology. Rebecca Hall plays his wife, Evelyn. She's ├╝ber smart too. They're altruistic and want what's best for the future, especially in terms of technology --- both appearing to understand its benefits … but, as we learn, maybe not so much its perils.
Dr. Caster is shot by a anti-techie radical, but not seriously wounded. Two days later Caster falls ill and is diagnosed having radiation poisoning that's was planted on the bullet. He's terminal. That gives him, Evelyn and his assistants time enough to find a way to upload his brain and memories to their laboratory construct called “pin” … P-I-N-N … which will allow Caster to continue his work even though his body has expired. (P-I-N-N resembles a more elaborate and up-to-date HAL 9-Thousand without your having another opportunity to hear, “In My Merry Oldsmobile.”)
Ladies, not to worry. Depp is still around for the movie … just in a different form.   It’s almost as if his later visage in the film is something George Orwell once dreamed.
“Transcendence” rehashes the important message of absolute power corrupting absolutely. Still the film requires more suspension of disbelief than it ought to, although what's up with it can't be said too often. The film does have vibrations of “A Beautiful Mind.”
Hall has much of the focus and is really fine as the suffering widow. Two of her earlier films were “Vicki Cristina Barcelona” and the excellent Boston cop flick, “The Town.” Other significant actors aboard are Morgan Freeman, Paul Bettany, Kate Mara and Cillian Murphy.
Director Wally Pfister allows for good entertainment especially for cyber nuts out on a date, even if the film almost loses it for trying to be too clever heading to its close. By the way, “Transcendence” ends like a stage play you may have seen. But I'll say no more.
Copyright © 2014 by Gary Chew. All rights reserved.

07:00 | 0 comments | Read More

Study Shows Elk Grove Drivers Pay Higher Than Statewide Average Car Insurance Premiums

Written By EGN on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 | 18:50

April 16, 2016 |

In a recently released study looking at car insurance premiums in California, Elk Grove drivers were found to be paying higher rates than the statewide average.

The study, which was conducted and released by Wallet News, found that auto insurance policy holders in Elk Grove were paying on average 6.8 percent higher than the statewide average. The study found the average individual premium was about $1,349 annually.

The study examined the 100 largest cities in the state and found that Elk Grove was ranked 63rd, with 1 being the best and 100 the worst. The most affordable large city was Santa Maria and the worst was Glendale.

Of the local cities included in the study, only Roseville ranked better coming in 41st place with annual premiums of $1,246. Citrus Heights came in 74th place with premiums of $1,383 and Sacramento was 88th place with premiums of $1,383. Folsom and Rancho Cordova were not in the study.

As for county rankings, Sacramento ranked as the third worst behind San Francisco and Los Angeles counties. Policy holders in Sacramento County as a whole pay 11.4 percent more than the statewide average.

The study was conducted by an examination of the records for the seven car insurers in the state who combined have about 38 percent of the policies. Premiums based on experienced female drivers with no accidents within last 5 years

Click on the graphic below to enlarge.

courtesy of WalletHub.com

18:50 | 1 comments | Read More

Howard Jarvis Taxpayers and Sustainable Water Advocates Slam Tunnel Plan

By Dan Bacher | April 16, 2014 |

Politics can make for strange bedfellows, but so can drought, as exemplified by the concurrence between the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN) over the enormously expensive pork barrel project known as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan.

Tom Stokely, Media Contact for C-WIN, explained, "California's water scarcity is being used by the Brown administration to push its so-called Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), a hyper-ambitious public works project that would convey water from the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta to south state corporate farms and municipalities via a pair of massive subterranean tunnels."

"The BDCP would cost upward of $100 billion, would do nothing to increase drought water supplies to southern California, and would devastate the Bay-Delta ecosystem, the richest estuary on the west coast of the continental United States," said Stokely. "The California Water Impact Network and allied organizations oppose the project because of its ruinous expense, horrendous environmental impacts, and ultimate inadequacy in addressing California's long-term water dilemma."

"We therefore welcome the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association into our alliance," said Stokely. "Equitable water distribution advocates and conservative taxpayer protection associations do not always agree on the issues."

"But in this case, we are in full accord," he emphasized. "The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association recently issued a statement expressing concern that the BDCP doesn't adequately address the profound fiscal impacts of the project, and decrying indications that the fiscal burden for the scheme will fall on already beleaguered taxpayers and property owners."

In its letter, the Association expresses concerns over the BDCP's unresolved financing and taxpayer issues: "We do not contest the state's existing requirement that water users pay all costs associated with the construction of any new conveyance facility in the Delta. However, there appear to be sufficient doubts among the participating water agencies so as to question whether the projected revenue stream will be sufficient to fund this project."

Further, the association notes, the BDCP seems the latest in a series of ill-conceived state projects that fail to meet established goals but burden residents with ever-spiraling tax bills.

"In recent years, California has undertaken several infrastructure projects which were poorly planned and executed," the organization stated. "High Speed Rail and the Bay Bridge fiasco are but two examples. Our concern is that the BDCP may well be plagued with similar challenges..."

Stokely said, "We couldn't have said it better ourselves."

"C-WIN is looking forward to working with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and any other group of concerned citizens in the campaign to stop the BDCP," said Carolee Krieger, the executive director of C-WIN. "This fight transcends the usual political divisions. It's about the responsible use of taxpayer money, and it's about making government accountable to the people - all the people."

The construction of the peripheral tunnels will hasten the extinction of Sacramento River Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, as well as imperil steelhead and salmon on the Trinity and Klamath rivers. The plan will remove large tracts of Delta farmland, among the most fertile on the planet, out of agricultural production in order to irrigate toxic, drainage impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley and to provide water for oil companies conducting fracking and steam injection operations in Kern County.

Yet the project won't provide one drop of new water. If the tunnels were in operation today, they wouldn't do anything to alleviate the drought.

17:30 | 0 comments | Read More

Forum on Trans-Pacific Partnership in Elk Grove Tomorrow

April 16, 2014 |

A community forum on the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will be held in Elk Grove tomorrow night.

The TPP is a proposed trade agreement  between the U.S., Canada, Mexico and nine other Pacific Rim countries. The one country not included in the on-going negotiations is China. 

Groups and individuals of varied interests have criticized the proposed agreement on a number of fronts including labor, environmental and food safety issues.  MIT Professor Noam Chomsky said of the agreement that "much of what’s leaked about the TPP indicates that it’s not about trade at all, it’s about investor rights.”

Tomorrow's forum will be held at the Elk Grove Public Library and starts at 7 p.m. and is being sponsored by several groups including the Communication Workers of America District 9 and The Sierra Club, Mother Lode Chapter. A representative from Congressman Ami Bera's district office will also be in attendance. 

16:02 | 0 comments | Read More

Money Pouring into Bera's, Ose's Campaign Warchests; Birman Still in the Hunt

April 16, 2014 |

If money were a gauge of popularity, the two front-runners in the Seventh Congressional District race would be freshman Democratic Congressman Dr. Ami Bera in first and former Republican Congressman Doug Ose in second.

Today both campaigns released recent fundraising totals for the first quarter of the year, and between Bera and Ose, the total approached three-quarters of a million dollars. Bera raised over $485,000 while Ose brought in over $225,000.

Bera, who outpaced fundraising efforts of former Congressman Dan Lungren, who he narrowly defeated in 2012, the first quarter totals brought his cash on hand to about $1.5 million. Ose's totals brought him to about $465,000 on hand.

In their announcements, both candidates stressed the source of their cash. Ose said 70 percent of his donations come from Sacramento County while Bera has pointed out that 85 percent of individual donations came from California and 70 percent of those were for less than $100.

"I am so grateful for the incredible continued help from our grassroots supporters who make this campaign possible," Bera said. “It's just further confirmation that Sacramento County families want a problem solver who keeps his promises and puts them ahead of politics representing them in Congress."    

While Republican candidate Igor Birman trailed Bera and Ose in first quarter fundraising, Birman's campaign manager Keegan Conway noted they brought in over $110,000 in the first quarter.

"We are pleased with the level of support we continue to receive from donors who are excited about electing a strong conservative in 2014," Conway said.

10:06 | 1 comments | Read More

Ose Signs Norquist's Tax Pledge, Promises to Oppose All Tax Increases

Written By EGN on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 | 13:00

April 15, 2014 |

Former Republican Congressman and current congressional candidate Doug Ose announced today that he has re-signed the Americans for Tax Reform’s (ATR) Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

“I want to congratulate Doug Ose for taking the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. The American people are tired of the tax-and-spend policies coming from Washington and they’re looking for solutions that create jobs, cut government spending, and get the economy going again,” Grover Norquist, president of ATR said. “By signing the pledge, Doug demonstrates that he understands the problems of hard-working taxpayers nationwide, but especially the taxpayers of California.”

Ose first took the pledge in 1998 and has been honored repeatedly by ATR for voting against tax increases when he served in Congress. When Ose left Congress in 2005, he held a 100-percent rating with ATR.

“Among all the candidates for the 7th Congressional District, I was the first to take the pledge to oppose tax increases; a promise I kept when I previously served in Congress,” Ose said. “I know from my past experience that reducing taxes on middle class Americans grows our economy and creates jobs. I intend to be [the] voice for taxpayers in Congress.”

Norquist, who is regularly criticized as a anarchist by Democrats, has also on occasion drawn the ire of Republicans over the pledge and his associations. In an October, 2011 floor speech Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA) said that among other things the ATR's pledge was effectively a roadblock to comprehensive tax reform.

“Have we really reached a point where one person’s demand for ideological purity is paralyzing Congress to the point that even a discussion of tax reform is viewed as breaking a no-tax pledge," Wolf said.

Norquist has also been criticized for his relationships with people ranging from Jack Abramoff to known terrorist financiers Abdurahman Alamoudi and Sami Al-Arian. Breaking with his Republican constituents, Norquist also supported the so-called Ground Zero Mosque and advocated for transferring Guantanamo detainees to U.S. soil.

Ose is in a four-way race with fellow Republicans Igor Birman and Elizabeth Emken and incumbent Dr. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove). The top two finishers in the June primary will advance to the November general election.

Updated photo of Mr. Ose compliments of his campaign staff.  

13:00 | 4 comments | Read More

Gunshots Fired at Elk Grove House

April 15, 2014 |

An East Elk Grove house had gunshots fired at it last night.

According to Elk Grove Police, several shots were fired into a residence on the 10000 block of Corton Way. The structure was hit several times and police collected evidence at the scene.

There were no injuries.    


09:51 | 0 comments | Read More

UPDATED - Two Robbed at Gunpoint on Elk Grove Street, Suspects Get Away

April 15, 2014 |

UPDATED - See update at bottom of story

Two victims were robbed at gunpoint by three unknown suspects last night just after 8:30 on the 9300 block of Big Horn Boulevard.

Elk Grove Police report that the 17 and 18-year old male victims were walking on Big Horn when three unknown suspects approached them. Two suspects displayed handguns and one a knife.

The 17-year old victim became involved in a physical altercation with the suspects as 18-year old attempted to get away. The suspects were able to take cash from 17-year old and his wallet.

The suspects fled on foot into a residential neighborhood. Responding officers were unable to locate the suspects and the victims were not injured.

The first suspect was described as a black male, 30's, wearing a black ski mask, blue shirt and green pants. The second suspect was described as a Hispanic male, 40's, wearing a black ski mask and all black clothing. The third suspect was described as a white male, 17-18 years of age, and was wearing a white shirt.

UPDATE 11:50 p.m. According to Elk Grove Police, "Officers later determined that the information provided to EGPD was false and that the crime described above did not actually take place."

No charges have been filed against the two men. 

08:02 | 4 comments | Read More

EGPD Questioning Three Individuals of Interest in Armed Robbery

Written By EGN on Monday, April 14, 2014 | 22:13

April 14, 2014 | UPDATED

7:45 a.m April 15 - See story above
10:55 p.m., According to Elk Grove Police, "After further investigation, the 3 individuals detained were identified and released. No arrests made."

Elk Grove Police are questioning three individuals in connection to an armed robbery that happened earlier tonight in Elk Grove.

According to Elk Grove Police tweets, three unknown suspects staged an armed robbery about two hours ago near Big Horn Boulevard and Village Tree Drive. Sources tell EGN that the robbery occurred at the Century Laguna Theaters, but police have not confirmed the exact location.

The three people currently detained have not been arrested as of this posting. Sacramento County Sheriff's helicopter have been deployed in the search for the suspects.

22:13 | 0 comments | Read More

Robber Grabs Cash and Goes at Elk Grove Walmart

April 14, 2014 |

An unknown suspect grabbed cash from a Walmart cashier early Sunday morning.

According to Elk Grove Police, an unknown suspect was in the service center area of the Elk Grove Boulevard Walmart store when he reached over the counter and grabbed an undisclosed amount of cash from an employee's hand as they were preparing to put it in the register. The suspect fled the store on foot and was seen getting into a Ford F-150 truck on the passenger side.

The suspect was described as a black male adult, approximately 35 years of age, 5`6" to 5`7", thin built, with a short black beard, wearing all black clothing and a black hat.

13:00 | 1 comments | Read More

Elk Grove Teenaged Girl Attacked Inside Residence by Unknown Assailant

April 14, 2014 |

A 16-year old Elk Grove girl was reportedly attacked inside her residence late Saturday afternoon by an unknown assailant. 

According to the Elk Grove Police, the victim was in her residence on the 8900 block of Altameda Place when she observed an unknown man enter the house through a living room window. The man chased the victim and wrestled her to the ground, where he started choking her. 

The suspect then left the residence and fled in an unknown direction. EGPD officers were dispatched at 8:37 p.m. and conducted a search of the area but were unable to locate the suspect who was described as a black male adult, 6'1", 165 lbs., wearing dark clothing and a ski mask. 

10:55 | 2 comments | Read More

Volunteers Man Phone-Banks, Walk Precincts For Birman and Martin

Written By EGN on Sunday, April 13, 2014 | 20:30

April 13, 2014 |

In lieu of spending a gorgeous Sunday afternoon enjoying the weather, several volunteers marked the opening of an Elk Grove office for candidates Igor Birman and Manuel Martin pursuing votes for the June primary.

Republicans Birman and Martin, who are both conducting their first runs for office, are seeking the U.S. Congressional Seventh District and California Ninth Assembly District seats respectively. To pool their Elk Grove resources, both candidates recently opened a joint office on Elk Grove-Florin Road.
Manuel Martin (left) volunteer Micheala Romero and Igor Birman work the phones

Birman, who is on leave from his position as chief of staff for Congressman Tom McClintock, is in a four-way race for the congressional seat currently occupied by Dr. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove). In addition to his Democratic rival, Birman is also facing fellow Republicans Elizabeth Emkin and former Congressman Doug Ose.

With Bera one the presumed top-two contenders in the Congressional race which under a new California law that has the top-two finishers in the primary advancing to the November election regardless of party affiliation, Birman is focusing most of his efforts on Ose, who he has characterized as not being a true conservative. To that end, Birman has been running ads on TV and radio focused on his conservative credentials, which includes endorsements from the Tea Party Patriots and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

“The campaign is coming along great,” Birman said. “I am very humbled by the support of the volunteers.”

Birman said he feels confident as the primary season moves forward noting that his filing petition of over 2,500 people was well above the 40 signatures required.

“These are voters of all backgrounds,” he said of the voters signing his filing petition. 

Martin, who is in a five-way race against one fellow Republican and three Democrats, has been actively campaigning in Elk Grove and district-wide for over a year and has spoken several times to local groups, including the Elk Grove Tea Party. Martin’s campaign, which includes heavy use of social media, is centered on his message of personal freedom and smaller government as he seeks to secure one of the two positions for the November general election. 

Along with several volunteers making phone calls on behalf of both candidates, there were a number of people who walked area precincts over the weekend. One volunteer who came in unannounced on Sunday afternoon to help was 16-year old Bowen Shi, a student at Elk Grove’s Franklin High School.

As Birman, Martin and their staffs gave Shi a quick course on walking precincts, both men applauded his civic engagement and noted how every volunteer can make a difference as the June primary quickly approaches.

“There are only 51 days to the primary,” Birman noted.   

20:30 | 7 comments | Read More

Elk Grove City Council Hears Earful on Rubia Drive Closure

April 13, 2014 |

At last Wednesday's Elk Grove City Council meeting, council members heard a full-throated complaint regarding the recent installation of a gate on Rubia Drive and Waterman Road.

The crux of the complaint was that the city's installation of the gate effectively made Rubia a private road. Furthermore, it was alleged that the gate was installed following vocal complaints of residents of Rubia Drive.

Conversely, Rubia Drive residents expressed concern that the road became a shortcut for drivers wanting to avoid the rush hour congestion at Waterman and Sheldon roads.

See the video below for the comments made during public comment at the April 9 meeting.

What are your thoughts on this matter?

10:30 | 13 comments | Read More

Senate Committee Approves Fracking Moratorium Bill

Written By EGN on Saturday, April 12, 2014 | 07:41

By Dan Bacher | April 12, 2014

The California Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water on April 8 passed SB 1132, legislation that will place a moratorium on fracking (hydraulic fracturing) and well stimulation until the state fully studies the impact of the oil extraction on California's air and water quality, public health and economy.

The bill, authored by Senator Holly Mitchell and Senator Mark Leno, will next be considered by the Senate Environmental Quality Committee on April 30t 2014.

The legislation, approved by a 5 to 2 vote as anti-fracking activists packed the State Captiol hearing room, would expand the current study focused on the environmental and public health effects of fracking to include the economic costs and harms, effects on private property and land use, and risks to worker safety, according to a statement from a coalition of groups.

The Committee vote took place as California reels from a record drought and Governor Jerry Brown continues to support the expansion of fracking in California and the construction of the fish-killing peripheral tunnels under the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP).

“A moratorium on fracking is especially critical as California faces a severe drought with water resources at an all-time low,” said Senator Mark Leno. “We are currently allowing fracking operations to expand despite the potential consequences on our water supply, including availability and price of water, the potential for drinking water contamination and the generation of billions of barrels of polluted water.’’

“There are a million Angelenos that live within a 5-mile radius of the largest urban oil field in the country,” said Senator Holly Mitchell, whose predominantly minority district includes the Inglewood Oil Field. “In my district vulnerable neighborhoods lie adjacent to drilling operations whose practices go largely unregulated.”

A broad coalition of environmental, labor, public health, and business groups applauded the Committee’s vote, noting that the body of research around correlations between fracking and public health concerns, water pollution and increased seismic activity is “growing.”

"The bill indicates that California should take a pause on all fracking activity until the threats it presents are better understood and we can ensure the safety of our air, water and climate,” they said in a joint statement.

Food and Water Watch, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Sierra Club, CREDO Action, the Physicians for Social Responsibility and many other groups praised the passage of the bill.

"A moratorium on fracking is a crucial and necessary measure towards protecting California's water and family farmers,” said Adam Scow, California Director of Food & Water Watch. “We applaud the Senate Committee's passage of SB 1132 to stop the oil industry's irresponsible and harmful pollution of our water, air, and soil."

"Fracking and well stimulation are not California's solution to a safe secure energy future,” said Kathryn Phillips, Director, Sierra Club California. The latest science shows that fracking and well stimulation create air pollution, water pollution and other impacts that jeopardize public health, the environment and economic sustainability. Californians have said repeatedly, in so many ways, that they want a state where they can breathe clean air and drink clean water. The committee's vote today brings us a step closer to achieving that."

"The California Senate's advancement of this moratorium legislation is a crucial step toward protecting our air and water from fracking pollution,” said Brian Nowicki, California Climate Policy Director, Center for Biological Diversity. "Fracking is a toxic technique that threatens our health, our climate, and our precious water supply. Sacramento lawmakers should move quickly to pass this bill and halt fracking before irreparable damage is done to our state."

Zack Malitz, CREDO Campaign Manager, said, "This vote is a wakeup call for Governor Brown. Every day more elected officials in California go on the record in support of a moratorium on fracking, putting enormous pressure on Governor Brown to split with Big Oil and return to the climate leadership he showed earlier in his political career."

"Physicians and other health professionals throughout California recognize the significant potential public and environmental health impacts of fracking because of increased threats posed by associated air pollution, groundwater contamination, and seismic activity,” said Robert M. Gould, President, San Francisco Bay Area Chapter, Physicians for Social Responsibility. “California should ensure that it is strongly protected against these impacts before allowing fracking to continue here."

On the other hand, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association, the most powerful corporate lobbying group in Sacramento, is strongly opposing the legislation. She claimed that expanded fracking operations could result in up to 200,000 new jobs in the Central Valley.

"It brings the opportunity to turn around the domestic (petroleum) production from on a slight decline to stable to increase,” said Reheis-Boyd, the former chaird of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create fake, oil industry-friendly “marine protected areas” in southern Calfornia, as quoted by KCRA TV in Sacramento. “And so the job potential -- let's say in the Central Valley -- is 200,000 jobs."

Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, says fracking, a form of "extreme mining" that uses large quantities of water, is closely linked with the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels and the federal proposal to raise Shasta Dam, since these projects will supply the water to expand fracking in Kern County and coastal areas. The dam raise and tunnel plan will flood many of the Tribe's remaining sacred sites not already inundated by Shasta Dam - and will result in the extermination of wild Chinook salmon, a fish that is sacred to the Tribe.

07:41 | 0 comments | Read More