California's Brown Hears Fracking Gripes

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In a year when California Democrats are worried about motivating their voters, Gov. Jerry Brown heard another unwelcome message Saturday: Some Democratic activists are bristling over his administration's policies on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — In a year when California Democrats are worried about motivating their voters, Gov. Jerry Brown heard another unwelcome message Saturday: Some Democratic activists are bristling over his administration's policies on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Appearing at a state Democratic Party convention in Los Angeles, Brown found himself forced to speak over a noisy group of sign-waving protesters in his first major campaign speech since formally declaring his candidacy last month.

"Just listen a moment," Brown pleaded at one point, as the protesters bellowed "No fracking" and waved "Another Democrat Against Fracking" signs just steps from the podium where he was speaking.

State Democratic conventions can be boisterous gatherings, but the protesters provided an unscripted distraction in what was otherwise expected to be a unified show of support for the 75-year-old governor, who appears headed for an unprecedented fourth term in the heavily Democratic state.

Fracking "gets to the oil that is the dirtiest oil on the planet," said delegate Ken Jones of Greenbrae in Marin County, who was among those waving signs. "It's an unsafe practice. To allow it to continue, when we know it's unsafe, is a crime."

Brown has placed climate change and environmental issues at the core of his re-election platform, but he's been dogged by those critical of his decision to allow fracking of oil and natural gas in California. He's being pushed to order a moratorium to block it.

Brown never directly mentioned fracking in his 13-minute speech, though he cataloged a list of measures to deal with a gradually heating planet, from expanding the use of electric cars and renewable energy to restoring drained wetlands.


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