California governor, once an environmental hero, harshly criticized for refusing fracking ban

EnergyAssociated Press

In the 1970s, California Gov. Jerry Brown was a hero to environmentalists for cracking down on polluters, ending tax breaks for oil companies and promoting solar energy.

But conservationists are now among his harshest critics, despite his agenda of tackling climate change.

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Protesters have dogged Brown for more than a year for refusing to ban hydraulic fracturing for oil.

Kassie Siegal of the Center for Biological Diversity says the oil and gas boom could undermine all the state's other progress on climate change.

Brown's administration is studying the effects of fracking ahead of new regulations this year. But officials say so far there is no direct evidence of harm from fracking in California.

Fracking opponents have planned a rally Saturday in Oakland that they hope will attract thousands.