Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Lawmakers review fracking study as activists demand ban

Students protest the Brown administration's failure to stop fracking in California during a rally at the State Capitol in March 2014.
Students protest the Brown administration's failure to stop fracking in California during a rally at the State Capitol in March 2014.

Natural resources committees in the Senate and Assembly today will hear from experts on a new scientific review of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

The study, conducted by the California Council on Science and Technology, was released in parts in January and July. It examined how fracking, in which a cocktail of water and chemicals is blasted underground to extract oil and natural gas, could affect earthquakes, water quality, human health and other environmental areas in California. The review included recommendations for further research.

Lawmakers required the study as part of a 2013 law authored by state Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, who leads the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee.

Scientists who worked on the study are scheduled to testify, as are state conservation and natural resources officials, at 9 a.m. room 112.

Afterward, Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, and Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, will join activists in calling for a statewide fracking ban. Activists from Courage Campaign plan to deliver a petition with about 160,000 signatures in support of a permanent ban.

CLIMATE RALLIES: Two groups have organized Capitol gatherings today to call for stronger climate-protection policies.

A group of California businesses will join Pavley and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, at a 11 a.m. press conference pushing for the passage of SB 32 and SB 350.

The companies are not named, but according to de León’s office they include consumer goods firms, health care providers and tech companies. They will submit letters to legislators in support of the bills, which aim to reduce carbon pollution.

At noon, about 250 minority community leaders will talk about climate change at a rally hosted by the California Environmental Justice Alliance. The demonstration will push for a crackdown on fossil fuels and support for clean energy, according to the group, as well as advocate for communities of color, who they say are disproportionately impacted by climate change.

De León, who is expected to attend the rally, will receive an Environmental Justice Leadership Award from the alliance this morning.

OUT TO THE BALLGAME: Democrats and Republicans are taking a break from the Capitol to face off at Raley Field tonight.

Proceeds from the annual Legislative All Star Game will benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Sacramento. The game will last 10 innings, with California State Auditor Elaine Howle umpiring at home plate, according to Leticia Klein, an aide to Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D-Oakley, coach of the Democratic team.

Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, will pitch to the Republicans first. Assemblyman Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, will pitch to the Democrats.

Tickets are $10 and first pitch takes place at 7:05 p.m.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Palm Desert, who turns 43.

Jeanne Kuang: 916-321-1188, @jeannekuang