Tell the Forest Service:

A Texas-based oil company, Seneca Resources Corporation, has submitted a proposal to the U.S. Forest Service to hydraulically fracture 8 new oil and gas wells and lay 8,000 feet of new pipeline in and around the pristine Sespe Wilderness.

Unless we take action and make our voices heard now, the Sespe will become the epicenter of untested, high-risk fracking on the Central Coast!

The Forest Service has requested public comment on the proposal, and I urge you to join me in opposing a project that threatens to degrade the beautiful Sespe Wilderness and potentially contaminate our environment, our watershed, and our community.

For me and so many others, the Sespe was a hallmark of growing up in Ojai. Starting when I was 7, I traversed the Sespe trails countless times, exploring the mammoth boulders of Piedra Blanca, hiking from Fillmore to Rose Valley and back, marveling at meteor showers while cocooned in a sleeping bag, spotting horned toads and condors, easing into the scalding waters of Willett Hot Springs, diving through thin layers of ice atop deep, blue winter water holes, and finding refreshment at each stream crossing.

All of that is threatened by the proposal to expand fracking in the Sespe Oil Field with 8 new wells and nearly 8,000 feet of new pipeline.

Until oil companies disclose the harmful chemicals used in fracking and dedicate the time and resources to proving that fracking is safe, we cannot allow this to happen.

There have been countless horror stories around the country about pollution and water contamination from fracking. In 2008, two families in Pennsylvania reported contamination of their well water after Seneca fracked a nearby well. Their contaminated water gave off strong fumes and burned their mouths and lungs when consumed. And just last month, a jury in Texas (hardly a bastion of environmental activism) awarded a family nearly $3 million after their air and drinking water were contaminated by fracking operations, causing their young daughter to experience nose bleeds and rashes. Do we really want to take that chance here?

On top of concerns about contamination, pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and geologic ramifications, the water-intensive extraction method threatens to further deplete our dangerously low water reserves – an issue of particular concern to members of our agricultural community, including my family’s organic farm in Ojai.

For all of these reasons, I urge you to join our petition opposing any new fracking in the Sespe and to offer your own reasons why the Forest Service should preserve our pristine wilderness and protect our watershed from contamination and depletion!

Thanks for your support,

Leif Dautch