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Letters to the Editor: Offended by fracking plans
Our Chumash people have thrived on this beautiful and biologically rich coastline for more than 15,000 years. The outrageous proposal to extract more offshore oil by injecting high-pressure water and toxic chemicals to fracture the earth would offend my ancestors – frankly, it offends me.
The federal government now seems poised under the Trump administration to green-light fracking off our coast without properly conducting studies of its environmental impacts. This is a sign that society has forgotten some fundamental truths.
Water is the basis of life. Poisoning it poisons life itself. We are caught in a reckless cycle, polluting the water for resources that will, in turn, pollute the air.
The Chumash people have always lived in harmony with the natural world. Consumerist culture has obscured that lifeway. Today’s convenience driven society has lost its reverence for nature, but deeply-rooted cultures like ours can remind people to follow through on our neglected responsibilities.
We power modern society and its gadgets with oil, relying on destructive technological fixes to keep it flowing. Oil is an addiction, and fracking is yet another crude, desperate way to feed this dependency.
Fracturing the integrity of the planet is a desecration. Numerous studies show that fracking chemicals can harm or kill sea otters, fish and other wildlife, including those of great cultural importance to our People. Extracting the lifeblood of Mother Earth is not the only option. Renewable energy is available in the form of wind, water and sun.
The federal government neglecting fossil fuel regulations is a violation of their mandate to protect public interests. Wishtoyo Chumash Foundation, a Native-led environmental nonprofit, is now in court to ensure that these agencies uphold their obligations.
The Trump administration, however, recently filed a motion to dismiss our case rather than addressing or remedying issues of insufficient research, lack of transparency and inadequate regulations.
What would my ancestors think if they saw today’s offshore drilling platforms? Would they tolerate the confounding belief that we must pollute our water and air in order to achieve progress? I don’t think they would — and neither will I.
The future cannot fight for itself. That’s a responsibility that falls to us today, so we must be the protectors of generations to come.
Mati Waiya, executive director of Wishtoyo Chumash Foundation