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A recent academic paper posits that both Democratic and Republican legislators overestimate the conservative nature of their constituents. As described in Salon, all politicians think Americans are super-conservative: polling 2,000 legislators and candidates on three selected social issues, politicians consistently and substantially overestimate support for conservative positions among their constituents on these issues.

IMAG0681The idea of fracking - that foul-named, foul-smelling method of extracting filthy fossil fuels from the marrow of the earth -in California has people worried. Last year, a fracking moratorium bill stalled.

This year, the legislature is considering seven to ten bills to regulate fracking in various fashions - well construction standards, wastewater disposal rules, disclosure of toxic chemicals, and the like. But no amount of well casing regulation will prevent carbon pollution caused by fracking and burning 15 billion barrels of sour crude oil. No research can prove the safety of injecting wastewater underground into a previously unmapped fault.

A moratorium is needed.

So what's a Democratic activist to do?

Write a resolution calling for a fracking moratorium. Get it passed by a county central committee. And another, and another, and another - a dozen smaller clubs in the space of two weeks. Take it to the California Democratic Party convention April 12-14. Hope that the Democrats of the state legislature see that their activists - the people who walk precincts and register voters and raise money for them - want a moratorium.

We're not as conservative as you may think we are. We know all the reasons why a water-intensive, earthquake-inducing, carbon-spewing process is a poor fit for this water-scarce, earthquake-prone, carbon-aware state. We're ahead of our leaders. We want our leaders to catch up.

MORATORIUM ON HYDRAULIC FRACTURING

WHEREAS, hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as “fracking”, is a
technique that drills vertically and often horizontally deep under the earth’s
surface and injects a mixture of water, sand and chemicals into the wells at high
pressure to crack shale and dense rock formations to extract gas or oil; and

WHEREAS, fracking uses large amounts of water reducing its availability
for agriculture and other public use, uses large amounts of chemicals that
contaminate the water supply and can cause cancer, creates wastewater that
brings deep-earth contaminants to the surface, releases methane gas into the
air that exacerbates climate change and pollutes the air with asthma-causing
smog and may cause earthquakes; and

WHEREAS, fracking is currently exempt from federal regulation under an
exception in The Safe Drinking Water Act and is not regulated by California and,
as a result, the chemicals used are treated as secret corporate property and are
not tested and the locations of all the wells are not tested or made public; and

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the California Democratic Party
supports: 1) an immediate moratorium on fracking with such moratorium to
remain in effect until legislation and regulations are put in place that repeal
the exception in The Safe Drinking Water Act, guarantee the public health and
safety, mitigate the effects on climate change, protect the environment and
allow government access and testing of the chemicals used; 2) full disclosure
and testing of all sites; and 3) substitution of renewable energy as soon as
practical; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the California Democratic Party send a copy
of this resolution to President Obama, Governor Brown, Senator Feinstein,
Senator Boxer, the California Democratic Congressional Delegation and the
Democratic Members of the California State Legislature and call on them to take
all executive, administrative, regulatory and legislative actions to implement this
resolution.

Originally posted to California politics on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 11:10 AM PDT.

Also republished by Climate Hawks.

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