Protesters against fracking in Hollister last October.

San Benito residents are proving they care about their water, and not much for hydraulic fracturing.

Local environmentalists have organized a bus ride to Sacramento where they will join thousands of other folks from all over California on March 15th to protest the extreme form of oil and natural gas extraction called “fracking.” The bus leaves from the Target parking lot in Hollister at 9:30 am and makes a stop to pick up people meeting at the Windmill market in San Juan Bautista at 9:50 am.

Fracking is known to cause poisoning of water aquifers, as it has in Pennsylvania, Texas, Colorado and other parts of the nation. Some 600 different toxic chemicals are mixed with sand and water and then injected up to a mile underground to split up rock and release oil or gas. Testing has shown that large amounts of benzene, a known carcinogen, along with methane, hydrochloric acid and many other unpronounceable compounds are left in the water supplies after a “frack.” Ranchers and farmers have reported hundreds of cattle and horse deaths after fracking has occurred close to their properties, in addition to numerous human hospitalizations.

The oil and gas industry is the only one in the nation exempt from the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, and legal wags have claimed it is up to the states and local jurisdictions to regulate or prohibit fracking. Activists are urging Governor Jerry Brown to ban the practice throughout the state.

There are still plenty of seats available on the chartered bus. Tickets are just $20 and can be reserved here: 

Bring a bag lunch and protest signs! The rally in Sacramento starts at 1:00 pm, with about an hour “down time” before the bus returns to San Benito. The bus gets back to the county by 8:30 pm. For more information, call Kate Woods, press agent for San Benito Rising at 831-693-4533.

This statewide event is organized by Food and Water Watch, and the bus leaving from Hollister and San Juan Bautista has been organized by the anti-fracking group known as San Benito Rising.