UCSB students rallied against oil drilling and hydraulic fracturing on Thursday at Storke Plaza.
California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) Students at UCSB organized the event to take part in the CALPIRG’s Phase Oil Out protest. Students dressed in black to simulate oil and student leaders gave speeches and read student poetry.
“We’re really out here just to show that the students and citizens of California support a ban on fracking and oil drilling. It’s a social issue, and we wanted to have a really high visibility event to show this movement is taking off,” said CALPIRG student intern Toni Marietti.
Hydraulic fracturing or fracking is an oil and gas well development process that typically involves injecting highly pressurized water, sand, and chemicals into the ground through a well.
CALPIRG Students Campus Organizer Veronika Michels said fracking is an extension of other oil drilling techniques like steam injection – where steam is injected into an oil well to heat it up. The heat thins the oil enough for it to be produced through the same well.
“It’s an environmental hazard; it’s basically a public health concern when you’re drilling into the ground it leaches into people’s water and causes rare forms of cancer and it’s just not great for public health,” said Ms. Marietti.
“It’s bad for the atmosphere because it (oil) releases very potent greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change and we’re in the middle of a climate crisis.”
Ms. Michels said Gov. Gavin Newsom has been a leader on environmental issues and CALPIRG hopes he will work to end oil drilling in California.
The Phase Oil Out campaign urges Mr. Newsom to create public health protection sites around existing oil drilling sites and create programs to transition workers from the fossil fuel industry to clean energy jobs, Ms. Michels said.