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Feds agree to halt oil leases in Central California pending fracking review


Two "sand castles" tower above the "missile" (lower right) at Chevron's fracking pad in the Lost Hills area, as shown in this file photo from July 2015. The missile is a manifold that takes in the slurry and sends it out through high-pressure lines to the well for hydraulic fracturing. The towers hold the sand used in the process.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has agreed not to auction off any more federal leases for production of oil and gas in Central California, including Kern, until the agency has completed a supplemental environmental review of the effects of the well-completion technique known as fracking.

The agreement dated Friday stems from a series of 2020 cases in which the Newsom administration and environmental groups filed lawsuits that targeted the BLM's 2019 review of fracking's local impacts, effectively challenging a plan by former President Donald Trump that would have restarted oil leasing across more than 1 million acres in counties including Kern.