Newsletter #50 – Quickie- Call to Action- Another DOGGR Exec bites the dust

The ongoing DOGGR melodrama continues to unfold.  Steven Bohlen, Director of the Department of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources ‘resigns’ after just 18 months on the job. Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to appoint Ken Harris, executive officer of the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board,

Have no idea what ole Gov is up to but when it comes to this DOGGR saga Jerry is writing the script and taken a vow of silence on how it is all going to end.


Meanwhile back at the ranch
On December 2, 2015, the California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources in consultation with the State Water Resources Control Board and the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, have provided additional information to the proposed exemption and, therefore, reopened a 15-day supplemental comment period to receive comment on the additional information.
This is where audience participation comes into play, like on the VOICE.
See the attached Notice for further information regarding the Aquifer Exemption proposal.
Our cue to chime in.
email to  Put Supplemental Arroyo Grande Oil Fields  in the subject line

 Dec. 16 5pm  Drop dead date.

So, I know this is getting  tiresome but writing in your concerns, questions, objections is worth the effort I promise you. DOGGR is a mess right now and we should not have to pay for their screw ups. So let DOGGR know what you think despite everything that is going on behind the curtain.

The really critical part of this is;  all our comments become part of the public record and can not be deleted or ignored, bcc yourself a copy of your comments. If they go missing you got the original.

If they don’t address our concerns to our satisfaction then this could very well be the grounds for a lawsuit against DOGGR if it comes to that. Better safe than sorry.  Boy isn’t that the truth?

I just have a few things to say about what has taken place up to this point. And I’ll be quick.


Calling the Arroyo Grande Aquifer impermeable without looking at the earthquake factor is like calling the Titanic unsinkable without looking at the Iceberg factor.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, in fact any 5th grader knows, that when the earth moves every single geological formation known to man is subject to permeability.

And second,

There are a few plot holes that need some explaining.  Are these hearings about protecting an aquifer that was misdiagnosed by DOGGR? Which would mean Freeport is illegally and unlawfully injecting toxic waste into a protected aquifer?  Or is this about Freeport claiming they have a right to dump toxic waste into a protected aquifer because DOGGR said it was o.k.?

DOGGR exempted over 1200 aquifers. All it took to get an exemption was to apply for one. It may be years before we get to the bottom of that quagmire. In the mean time we could certainly take a close look at what happens when impermeable meets permeable. The consequences are never less than catastrophic.

The solution for a catastrophic environmental disaster  is sue the company for damages. In our case we would be  suing Freeport when the impermeable bowl crumbles like a cookie and billions of gallons of illegally injected toxic waste goes anywhere it wants.  Suing is the answer to making everything o.k. It will bring dead people back to life and restore the river and fields to its original condition when the settlement papers are signed. It’s the law.

I don’t think so. Here is what really happens.

Chief executive resigns. Petrobras is facing a corruption scandal and has a mountain of debt. But nobody is going to jail for murder. The company’s license is not revoked. The beat goes on. That’s the solution.

Now it is dead and everything that lived in it and around it.

This river was alive. Now it is dead and everything that lived in it and around it.

This is a look into our future. This is how it could play out here if we let it.  Aquifer is breached.   Freeport exec resigns so he can get booted up the ladder.  Freeport files bankruptcy. Carnage forgiven.  The court ordered ‘clean up’ crew is a team of corporate stealthy lawyers that will proceed to sue the community, the government, the country for being so stupid for believing them.

Freeport’s reputation is world renowned. We should pay attention. Stockholders are bailing. Never a good sign.

Lawsuits against Freeport for environmental health and safety violations abound. A history of  criminal, corrupt  activity world wide and yet we are dealing with them here like they are pillars of the community. We roll out the red carpet, give them center stage with a spotlight, our leaders break  rules so they have all the time they need to shine.  WE, the residents, are shushed.

If you don’t like the way this is going let DOGGR know.  Ask questions, make comments, express every concern you have about this ‘exemption’.  We are making our case.

We can write our own ending to this story and we are.  We are not waiting to read about Freeport’s, DOGGR’s. EPA or Gov. Brown’s version of how this is going to end.  We are writing our own ending and that will be covered in the next installment of life in the SLO lane coming out the first of the year. History in the making. Very exciting.

Deadline for comments Dec. 16. email to  Put Supplemental Arroyo Grande Oil Fields  in the subject line

In solidarity and love join the

Oil train Action: 
This Saturday at 11 at the Jennifer St bridge/Los Osos St. SLO train station


Draw The Line Against Fossil Fuels

On December 12th, thousands of activists will take to the streets as the Paris Climate Summit wraps up. A livable climate is a red line that can’t be compromised or…
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What happened at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Fracking?



On Tuesday, Sept. 23, 3pm, County Board of Supervisors agenda item #30, report on hydraulic fracturing and staff recommendation, was presented to the BOS by the Planning and Building Department.



This agenda item was in response to the presentation of over 5,000 signatures from the San Luis Obispo community at large on May 20th calling on the BOS to adopt a countywide ban on hydraulic fracturing for the safety, health, environmental and economic well being of the community.



The Board instructed staff to prepare a report they would use for their response to our petition. Staff instructed to provide Board with;


  1. What is hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking)?


  1. What is the fracking potential in the County?


  1. What are the existing and proposed regulations relating to fracking?


  1. What are some of the important environmental issues?


  1. What is happening in other jurisdictions?


The report was 4 months in the making.



The chamber was nearly packed. A lot of suits in the room I had not seen before. The presentation took about 20 minutes and was preferenced with what the report WILL and WILL NOT focus on. Hydraulic fracturing is the focus and cyclic steam stimulation, waterflood injection, steam flood injection, acid well stimulation, matrix acidization, and well acidization WILL NOT be discussed.


The term hydraulic fracturing aka fracking has up and until this point and as part of the definition of what fracking is included well stimulation techniques in which high-pressure fluid is injected into a wellbore. The fracking technique is commonly applied to wells for shale gas, tight gas, tight oil. The industry claims hydraulic fracturing has been in use in California for over 60 years.



Since 1978 high-pressure steam injection and cyclic steam injection has been the primary method of extraction at the Arroyo Grande Oil Fields, AGOF. The AGOF is on the Monterey Shale, tight oil, asphalt grade oil is being extracted.


Freeport makes the claim it is not hydraulic fracturing and has no plans to do so. That is not to say they won’t if the needs suits them and more than likely given the new patent protected, water intensive, earthquake generating technology unencumbered by cost prohibitive safety and environmental laws and funded yearly by billions of taxpayers dollars, the odds are they will use every loophole handed to them on a silver platter and frack the last drop of oil right out from underneath our feet without so much as a mother may I.


And if the oil industry were held to the same standards as all other businesses operating within our jurisdiction hydraulic fracturing, cyclical steam injection, acidizating, high intensity, unconventional, processes would be a crime in violation of the Clean Air, Clean water, Safe drinking water Act and the Community right to know Act. But because they are not held to the same standards and are granted special dispensation VIA the Halliburton loophole to operate independent of the law, the community as it is represented by its governing board, knowingly assumes all the risks and bears all the burden of the industry’s activity to include spills, explosions, fires, leaks, accidents and unintended consequences.



It would be fair to ask at this point that if Freeport has

no intention of fracking why are they so concerned then with a ban?



Public comment followed the presentation. There were 52 requests to speak. And in the interest of time, Mr. Gibson offered the following format. One minute, two minute and three minute speakers starting with one-minute speakers. When all the one-minute speakers are finished the next round of speakers will have two minutes and lastly those remaining to speak for 3 minutes will be called from the remaining speaker’s slips.



With this format everyone is allowed to speak. Very curious why this format was not offered at the May 20th meeting as time was also a factor.



There was not a single speaker from the Freeport constituency at the May 20th meeting. This meeting however was teeming with very important, high ranking, titles and letters behind their name, persons. Almost like royalty. They seemed to own the room. The impression was somehow their presence projected a sense of greater importance than usual on these proceedings and worthy of special consideration, in the interest of fairness, of course.



The Board seemed duly intimidated and oddly attentive to the sheer power and force mingling amongst the rank and file and perhaps instinctively knew that limiting this crowd to 5 people and 15 minutes was not an option.



I am just hazarding a guess here and it may not be significant but it seemed at least 20 of the speakers from Freeport were there as paid employees working on company time. Just comparing loyalty factors here and what motivates people to get involved in local politics. I took time off work. Judy J got out of a sick bed, David K gave up study time. Just saying.


I waited to be called for the 3-minute segment about an hour and half into the meeting. I took the last stand on principle, appealing to the board to do the right thing and ban fracking. Foreseeing they might use staff time and expense as an excuse to delay writing a resolution I submitted a draft for their consideration, attached.


Listened to the other speakers but then had to take a breather and headed out to the lobby. I left my purse indicating, I hope, that I would be back. I took my water bottle and headed out. There were monitors in the lobby so I could still follow the proceedings. When the speakers finished and the Board was going to make a ruling I elected to remain in the lobby.



And then something rather odd happened. A man came out looking for me to tell me my keys had somehow got kicked out of my purse into the aisle and I might want to return to retrieve them. And then as if his Good Samaritan act needed justification added he had observed that I often retreat to the lobby so he knew where to find me. That was very odd since this was the first time I choose to leave and wait outside chambers. I thanked him and returned in time to hear the Board’s decision.


One by one the Board rendered their reasoning and voted unanimously 5-0 to ignore the beseeching petitioners, community members, organizations and municipalities and do nothing. Wait. Too many other more important things to do. Let’s wait and see what the State does with fracking, was their rationale.


Our health, safety, well-being and immediate concerns and fears about water and earthquakes summarily dismissed as unimportant. Clearly the Board regards approving a permit to drill 450 oil wells in our backyard as more important than our immediate need to get inoculated against the ravishes of the greed disease.


And no my keys were not in the aisle.



And yes there is more to come.



But first, Please, please try to find an hour or two somewhere to help Santa Barbara get Measure P passed. I will send how we can help and all the information immediately in a follow up email.



Ah, I can feel it, Can you feel it? All the good vibrations? The cosmos are conspiring to shower us with abundance.



Here is a link to the whole BOS meeting so you can judge for yourself.



Item # 30 starts at 3:00 on the tape.




Have a spectacular week!!!



Jeanne Blackwell

SLO Clean Water


Change doesn’t just happen. It starts with an ultimatum and goes from there.


Approving Freeport would increase their water usage by 300% in a phase III drought alert where everyone is mandated to cut back by 20%. The water is coming from a well taped into the groundwater. On that issue only fracking should be ban in SLO County.  Freeport McRanRo Arroyo Grande Oil Fields usage would amount to over 8 billion gallons of water. How is this o.k? It would be criminal if there was a law against it. But alas our lawmakers are opposed to criminalize using water to manufacturer a toxic waste that is hazardous to every living thing it comes in contact with.




Fracking Bans on the Rise

Does this look at all familiar? It should.  The names may be different but this is almost text book SLO action. And look what it got them? We are on the right track folks. No two ways about it. The Small Town that Changed the Fracking Game


Beverly Hills has a ban, Carson just voted to lift their moratorium and Hermosa Beach is considering lifting their ban on oil and gas drilling.  Many communities in California — including San Benito, Santa Barbara, Beverly Hills, Carson and Butte — are fighting back against fracking.

Stop the bomb trains because they are on their way here if we don’t.


Quick update.

Went to Los Osos Community Service District meeting to ask them to join San Luis Obispo and Arroyo Grande calling on the Board of Supervisors to adopt a countywide ban on Fracking.

A group of  local and county residents respectfully submitted the request with valid and legitimate reasons why this was important. Banning the practice of using millions of gallons of water we don’t have and turning it into a toxic soup we can’t get rid of and that directly and adversely impacts all communities within the unincorporated areas was stressed.

We made it easy for them to join their peers with a simple letter drafted after the San Luis Obispo letter which would save staff time and there was no fiscal impact which always seems to be a matter for consideration before a decision can be made.The Los Osos decision makers however seemed a little disoriented and unsure of what exactly to do and the response was that they would need 2 months to deliberate on the request.

We thank them for their time and regret that they will not be included as a community in support of protecting, preserving and safe guarding their constituents from a process that will by hook or crook take our precious water and turn it into a lethal injection unless we do something to prevent that from happening right now.

We did what we could and that is all we can do. We move on.

Great news Announcement:  We have a coalition of Cal Poly and Cuesta students on the ban fracking ban-wagon and committed to joining our presentation to the Board on May 20th. It is just a joy to watch these young people in action. They are putting together a whole campaign in less than 3 weeks and their do it and get it done attitude is just positively refreshing.

They will be a force to be dealt with when they finally spread their wings and take flight.  It is a honor and sheer pleasure working with them.

And Please NOTE Board of Supervisors, 1055 Monterey, SLO, meeting on Tuesday May 20th is at 9 am in the morning. Not 6pm as previously announced.

Another announcement:  Cal Poly group Future Fuels is holding an annual expo to showcase student and industry projects dealing with sustainability on Saturday May 10th  from 11am to 3pm on the plaza outside of Building 192 on Cal Poly campus.

There will be a  live band, food, and hopefully a large turnout of students, faculty, and members of the community. SLO CLEAN WATER Action will be tabling information about fracking and gathering signatures for the BOS meetings with help from the newly formed  Students Against Fracking. YEA.  You can find us by just looking for the group with the White tees that Says San Luis Obispo County across the top. We got Tees. Thank you June C for the hook up.

And one bit of sad news I learned today when Eric Greening so admirably requested a moment of silence in honor of the passing of our Willow Walking Turtle Kelly. I am deeply saddened by this news as her spirit will be so missed but am also so joyful and happy that she is at home at last embraced, surrounded consumed by loving souls just like her. She is truly in a position of power now and I for one will not hesitate to call on her and her band of angels for wisdom and guidance from time to time. Love you Willow and thank you for being here and being part of lives.

Kicking this out in a hurry before it becomes a chapter rather than a verse.


SLO City Council Advocates for County Fracking Ban

City Council Meeting January 7, 2014

 Press Release

January 8, 2014


Contact: Jeanne Blackwell,

SLO City Council Advocates for County Fracking Ban

At its January 7 meeting, the San Luis Obispo City Council voted to include a provision in its 2014 legislative platform urging the County to prohibit hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for oil and gas in the unincorporated areas of the county.

“We can’t thank the city council enough for realizing there’s no escaping the impacts of fracking outside city limits and taking leadership on this issue,” said SLO Clean Water Action organizer Jeanne Blackwell, who led the effort to urge the City to take a position on fracking and testified at the Jan. 7 meeting. “We hope the County gets the message as soon as possible and puts a prohibition in place to protect our water and our quality of life.”

Fracking has been at the center of controversy over environmental, seismic and public health impacts nationwide as the practice has exploded over large shale formations in recent years. Oil and gas is extracted via a largely unregulated process that injects millions of gallons of water and chemicals under pressure into fissures to extract oil or gas. Once contaminated by the process, water cannot be treated or reused. Oil and gas companies are not required to disclose the chemicals they use.

“Right now, if the County wants to protect its natural resources and its citizens, there is no alternative to a ban on fracking,” said Andrew Christie, Director of the Santa Lucia Chapter of the Sierra Club. “At the federal level, the ‘Halliburton loophole’ exempts frackers from the Safe Drinking Water Act, and California’s draft fracking regulations read like they were written by oil industry lobbyists. When the regulatory structure fails at the state and federal level, it’s up to local communities to take action.”

The Monterey shale formation underlying a large portion of California is considered to be a major target for future on and offshore fracking operations. On the same day that the San Luis Obispo City Council took its stand, nine state legislators sent a letter to Governor Jerry Brown urging him to “impose a moratorium on fracking while you fully investigate the science behind fracking for oil production.”

Last September, the City of Los Angeles and Santa Cruz County passed moratoriums on fracking.

Carlyn Christianson, Council Member, did also express that she has  been studying the impact of Hydraulic Fracturing on communities for some time and could answer questions about how important a countrywide ban is to protecting and safeguarding  the environmental well being of cities and municipalities within the county.

You could contact Carlyn for comment:
Carlyn Christianson Council Member
(805) 550-9320

Wrap up by point person Kevin McCarthy, Thank you Kevin.
Dear Folks,
     There were about 8 speakers this evening at the SLO City Council meeting.  Thank you for your e-mails to the council.  The council was unanimous in there consensus against fracking and many of them were quite knowledgeable about the process.  Moreover, they voiced their appreciation for the many e-mails and calls that they had received, in addition to the people coming to the meeting, that expressed the increasing concern about the issue.  In the end, they adopted the more stringent wording in their recommendation to the SLO County Board of Supervisors that there should be a county-wide ban on hydraulic fracturing, i.e., they will recommend that the board of supervisors “adopt regulations to prohibit hydraulic fracturing in the county of San Luis Obispo.”  They also acknowledged that the real struggle will be at the supervisors level and moreover at the state level, but it is certainly affirming to have a local legislative body take this action. It proves that there is increasing awareness and concern about the issue.  Our thanks to Jeanne Blackwell of SLO Cleanwater Action for leading this charge and, of course, to the Council, and to you for encouraging the Council.  Please send a follow up e-mail to the SLO City Council in thanks for this support.
     I will be sending you a letter later in the week regarding our group and our current group status.
All my best,

Just to help staff with construct of a letter I submitted the following letter for consideration to the SLO City Council for the Board of Supervisors

Dear County Board of Supervisors,

As San Luis Obispo already has an ordinance prohibiting oil drilling within city limits and whereas these protections will be infringed upon by activities in the unincorporated areas as a result of our shared resources, water, air, roadways, fault lines, The San Luis Obispo City Council on behalf of the residents, visitors and parties of interest evidenced by a petition of over a 1000 signatures are compelled to call on the County Board of Supervisors to adopt a countywide prohibition on Fracking.

Respectfully yours,

San Luis Obispo City Council

And lastly, Here is what needs to happen next.

Inline image 2

SLO City Council members voted unanimously 5-0  in favor of the  B1 issue to write a letter on behalf of the citizens of SLO calling on the Board of Supervisors to adopt a countywide BAN on Fracking. 8 people got up to speak and it was straight from the heart. Very powerful stuff.

What is so exciting and wonderful about this is the Council trail blazed the way for every city, municipality in the county,  in the State, to do the same thing.  When an entire council agrees to use their voice on behalf of their citizens and let the Board of Supervisors know about it, that’s a big Deal and doesn’t happen every day. This may be a first.

Now two things have to happen next. 1. Please let the Council know how much we appreciate their bold action, so refreshing  and  2. Who is the next city to present this to their City Council? AG? Morro? Paso? Los Osos?

You don’t have to be an expert anything to do this.  Concerned person is all the credentials you need to get started. Expert is what you are when the job is done.

If you like we could set up a meeting to get you started.  This took us about 2 months, give or take a year or two of prep work. The good news is the foundation is laid and we are ready to start building, city by city.   Contact me with the city you want to do and we will set up a meeting with all the people from your area and we will get this done.
SLO people there is no resting on our laurels. We have 4 working petitions that are also going to the Board of Supervisors along with the letters from the cities.
We need signatures on STUDENTS AGAINST FRACKING (we have 40,000 students in this county), FARMERS AGAINST FRACKING (we are an ag community that needs clean frack free water to grow our food)  CHEFS AGAINST FRACKING (how many restaurants, hotels, wineries, breweries, need fresh clean water to stay in business? All of them!) And BAN FRACKING IN SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY.
You can sign online and share it all over the place or contact me for hard copies to take to your next soiree, Farmers Market, etc.  Nancy M. got 60 signatures from Farmers in Los Osos on Monday. Way to go Nancy.   Click on links below to sign and then share.
SLO Clean Water Action. org  has posted all the videos of the council meetings.  You can watch and listen to get ideas on your 3 minute public comment. If you can’t do the city council thing then sign the petitions and commit to getting at least 10 other people to sign. We are all in this together folks .  If everybody does something so nobody has to do everything.  It’s our water, our air, our land, our oil and unless we stake claim to it right now the frackers are going to get it by default.This is a great start to a New Year and I already know exactly how I want it to end. Same way. Celebrating. Only difference, we will be celebrating as the first frack free county in the State with a Community Bill of Rights and Water Protection ordinance on the books and in full working order.

From the bottom of my pea picking heart thank you signers, attendees, speakers, press release writer, point persons, and SLO City Council.  Big HUG and pass it on.


P.S. I apologize for the very rough formatting above. I couldn’t get it to format paragraphs. Sorry.