In politics, it’s not what you know, it’s whom you know.
That’s the logic a group of political insiders are banking on in a push to ban fracking in California, a state that appears on the precipice of a fracking boom.
A coalition of former advisers to Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown is preparing to send its old boss a letter asking him to impose a statewide moratorium on fracking unless a string of scientific studies on the drilling’s environmental consequences can be studied.
“As you read this, the oil industry is actively exploring the Monterey Shale and using unconventional, untested, and incredibly dangerous extraction techniques to squeeze more dirty oil out of California,” the advisers write.
The group is headlined by Wendy Wendlandt, former national organizer on Brown’s 1992 presidential campaign, and Michael Kieschnick, one of Brown’s former economic advisers. In an email obtained by National Journal, the duo claim to have more than a dozen former Brown advisers on board.
The insiders may have a direct pipeline to Brown, but — barring a radical departure in policy — their letter is not going to convince the governor to ban fracking.
But it does underscore a continual tension within the Democratic Party over fracking, forcing its various factions to prioritize between the increased revenue it brings to states against the environmental risks — and controversy — of a massive, and rapid, expansion of fossil fuels.
Thus far, Brown appears to be seeking a middle ground.
The governor signed a comprehensive fracking policy into law in September and is currently overseeing key provisions in that law that are set to go into effect at the start of 2014. The law requires drillers to disclose more information about their fracking practices, and it calls for a study of its environmental consequences, but it fell far short of the binding regulations green groups were pushing for.
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Following their meeting, President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico and Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump, briefly addressed the media, with Peña Nieto subtly rebuking Trump's rhetoric. While he spoke respectfully about Trump, Peña Nieto did not back down, saying that free trade has proved effective and that illegal immigration into America from the south has decreased over the last ten years while the flow of people and drugs into Mexico has increased. Additionally, he stressed that Mexicans in America are "honest" and "deserve respect." Trump responded, calling some Mexicans "tremendous people" while saying others are "beyond reproach." Trump laid out five important issues, including the end of illegal immigration and the ability for either country to build a wall or border. However, Trump said he did not discuss who would pay for the wall.
A divided Supreme Court "refused Wednesday to reinstate North Carolina’s voter identification requirement and keep just 10 days of early in-person voting. The court rejected a request by Gov. Pat McCrory and other state officials to delay a lower court ruling that found the state law was tainted by racial discrimination."
"Police say a woman walked into U.S. Rep. Danny Davis' office on Chicago's West Side, drank out of a bottle of hand sanitizer, poured the sanitizer over herself and set herself on fire with a lighter." The Democrat wasn't in the office at the time.