Alice Waters is leading the charge on a petition addressed to Gov. Jerry Brown against fracking in California farmland. On Wednesday, the culinary icon kicked off an online petition asking culinary professionals to join her in the protest of hydraulic fracturing in California. More than 100 California chefs, restaurant owners, brewers, winemakers, food purveyors, cookbook authors, and cooking educators have signed the petition asking the governor to ban fracking in the state.
The growing list of signers includes big names in the S.F. culinary scene like Chris Cosentino of Incanto, Mourad Lahlou of Aziza, Sam Mogannam of Bi-Rite, Gayle Pirie and John Clark of Foreign Cinema, Ravi Kapur of Liholiho Yacht Club, Anthony Myint of Mission Street Food, Joanne Weir of Copita, cookbook authors Bryant Terry and Heidi Swanson, and many more.
The effort is in conjunction with Food & Water Watch, which helped start the group Californians Against Fracking. The petition also contains a letter from singers to Gov. Brown asking him to stop the practice, citing threats to their livelihoods that include water scarcity, rising water prices, and groundwater pollution. California's 81,000 farms produce an annual $43 billion in crops, according to Food & Water Watch, and recent in Kern County, groundwater contaminated by fracking cost one farmer millions of dollars in almond and pistachio crops.
This is all in response to new interest in the Monterey Shale, a deposit stretching from nearly L.A. to S.F. that could hold as much as 15 billion barrels of crude oil. Last week, Brown signed a controversial law that required oil companies to obtain permits for fracking, notification of neighbors, public disclosure of chemicals used, and groundwater and air-quality monitoring. Opponents of the bill, including many environmentalists, say it didn't go far enough. New York state has issued a fracking moratorium, and in June the governor of Illinois signed a strict set of regulations into law.