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Federal judge blocks new fracking on Central Coast BLM lands

Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
A Central California oil and gas drilling field

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was preparing to file supplemental court papers later this month, after a federal judge this week blocked any new fracking on BLM land in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and other Central California counties.

The judge in the case said BLM has an obligation to consider the environmental effects of fracking when considering oil leases. 

Clare Lakewood is an attorney with the Climate Law Institute at the Center for Biological Diversity and said Thursday that the ruling is a short-term win for the environment.

"There isn't actually a remedy in the case yet," said Lakewood. "The court has said that the environmental impact reporting wasn't good enough, but at a minimum this decision should stop an expansion of drilling and fracking on public land in California."

The Bureau of Land Management Office in Bakersfield told KCBX there are currently no lease sales scheduled that would potentially be affected by the ruling.

The Western States Petroleum Association issued a statement saying regulated fracking is safe and provides benefits to both businesses and consumers but did not comment directly on this specific case.