The U.S. Bureau of Land Management will lead the study. BLM California State Director Jim Kenna says it’s in response to lawsuits attempting to block oil and gas development on public lands.
“Certainly, the intent would be to reduce legal challenges – hopefully because people trust the information and are more aware of what is going on. But the bottom line is, the science will find out what it finds out,” Kenna says.
Last year, a federal judge ruled the BLM violated environmental law by auctioning off the rights to drill or frack on 2,500 acres of public lands in Monterey County.
The science and planning review will examine the environmental protections in place not just for fracking – but other extraction techniques as well.
The BLM plans to work with the state on the study and complete it by early next year.