CA activists rally against fracking - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

CA activists rally against fracking

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Armed with boxes of 50,000 petitions, activists spoke out against a process they claim is hurting communities. (Source: KERO/CNN) Armed with boxes of 50,000 petitions, activists spoke out against a process they claim is hurting communities. (Source: KERO/CNN)

SHAFTER, CA (KERO/CNN) - On Saturday, some activists held a rally to demand the state's governor do something about fracking.

Armed with boxes of 50,000 petitions, activists spoke out against a process they claim is hurting county communities and conditions that have already led to pollution, waste and environmental concerns.

Residents and members from several environmental groups gathered in a community garden.

"When we frack, we don't just frack for gas. We also frack for oil, and every barrel of oil we get is burned and that carbon goes into the atmosphere," said Linda Capato, a campaign coordinator for 350.org, a group that works to combat climate change worldwide.

"The way we are doing it with weak regulation - and without health studies to understand the human health impact - those things are scary," she said.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, works by injecting water, sand and chemicals into underground layers of rock to release oil and gas.

Kern County lies directly on top of a formation that could contain up to 15 billion barrels of hidden oil.

"Essentially what will happen is if we cease fracking, it will lead to job loss," said Blodgie Rodriguez of the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Californians for a Safe and Secure Energy Future, a pro-energy coalition, estimates nearly 50,000 jobs in the county are tied to the oil and gas industry, and in 2012, they say local energy companies paid more than $1.2 billion in state and local taxes.

"Those dollars will go to other states and other countries," Rodriguez said. "Do we really want to rely on oil from other countries?"

"We understand the jobs argument," Capato said. "We're losing jobs on the regular because of the drought - but honestly, fracking is a very scary thing."

It's something activists are calling on Gov. Jerry Brown to regulate further and visit drill sites before something goes wrong.

"We're next to an elementary school, and there are fracking wells within two football fields away," Capato said. "God forbid, there's an accident at the school, and all those kids will be impacted by it."

Copyright 2014 KERO via CNN. All rights reserved.

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