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Frack the rock?!? 

Morro Rock ... all it does is sit there, amirite? The volcano it's supposed to be plugging is long dormant anyway, isn't it? Well, good news?

According to Los Padres ForestWatch, an environmental nonprofit, "The Trump administration is seeking to open more than 123,000 acres of federal land and mineral estate in the county to fracking and oil drilling." Among the potential targets are Montaña de Oro, Irish Hills, Carrizo Plains National Monument, Huasna Valley, Lopez Lake, Whale Rock Reservoir, and Morro Rock itself!

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"The Bureau of Land Management plan could allow drilling and fracking atop and surrounding Morro Rock, a volcanic plug at the entrance to Morro Bay Harbor. It is protected as the Morro Rock State Preserve and is a State Historic Landmark," the ForestWatch report reads.

What in the actual hell?

"The BLM plan would open a 5-acre parcel to drilling and fracking directly across the street from Los Osos Middle School and within 300 feet of the southern boundary of Morro Bay State Park," the report ominously continues.

First Trump separates brown children from their parents and cages the kids, and now he wants to frack middle schoolers of all colors in Los Osos? They already live in Los Osos! Isn't that punishment enough! There's not even a movie theater there!

Anyway, most Californians want to go green. Clean energy! Electric cars! Breathable air! Here in SLO County, we're going to vote on whether we want more oil exploration or less. To G or not to G, that is the question!

This November, SLO County voters will decide whether they want to ban fracking and new oil drilling in the county or not, via Measure G. Vote yes on G and ban; vote no and allow fracking and new oil exploration. Guess where the big money is?

Sentinel Peak Resources and California Resources Corporation—two oil companies that mysteriously don't have the word "oil" in their names—have already collectively donated $725,000 to the No on Measure G campaign.

Some of that money ($111,445) has been spent on Meridian Pacific Inc., a campaign strategy firm co-owned and founded by 1st District Supervisor John Peschong. Is that a thing that makes you go, "Hmm?"

Hey District 1 voters, when you elected Peschong as your county supervisor, was it to represent your views on the issues affecting you, or was it to advocate for his views and line his pockets if the opportunity arose? Well, you got the latter, not the former.

Peschong is of course recusing himself from voting on board decisions concerning the energy sector, which I suppose is better than pretending he's an unbiased elected official representing his district's desires, but it still seems a little unctuous (pun totally intended) to take oil money to lobby against a measure going before the voters who elected you. Maybe you should recuse yourself and refuse to accept frackers' filthy lucre.

And speaking of sleazy, former Lt. Gov. cum cannabis grower Abel Maldonado sure pulled a fast one on SLO County. He has something like 30 acres of hemp growing on his Runway Farms, but unlike its dank, smokable cousin Mary Jane, industrial hemp has no mind-altering effects. That doesn't, however, make it legal! When the feds were busy vilifying jazz musicians, African-Americans, and brown people by outlawing marijuana, they were also handing newsprint magnate William Randolph Hearst a big win by outlawing hemp, which could compete with his timber holdings.

Though still federally illegal, hemp can be legally cultivated in California "for research," but it must be grown under the aegis of "an established agricultural research institution," which Maldonado's hemp was not ... until July 26, the very same day SLO County Sheriff's deputies happened upon Maldonado's grow, which was obviously planted long before that day. Crafty, Abel, very crafty!

Frankly, industrial hemp and recreational marijuana should both be legal, but for a former pol and someone who tRump was looking at as a potential secretary of agriculture, you'd think Maldonado would be a little less shady ... oh what am I saying? If Trump was seriously considering him, of course he'd be dirty. I mean, if Trump really wanted to lock Hillary Clinton up, he could have hired her!

And speaking of drugs and politicians, the SLO County Board of Supervisors has signed onto a massive federal lawsuit against Big Pharma for underplaying the dangers of opioid prescription drugs, which are the source of the nationwide opioid epidemic.

In SLO County between 2006 and 2017, 270 people died of opioid use. Oftentimes, people are prescribed opioids by their doctor, get hooked, can't get another prescription, so they turn to street drugs like heroin and fentanyl. Of the 42,000 opioid deaths reported nationwide in 2016, 40 percent were deaths from prescription opioids. Who's paying for this public health crisis? It ain't Big Pharma, though maybe this lawsuit will do to that industry what past suits did to Big Tobacco.

Anyway, good job, SLO County supervisors! Slam dunk! Except instead of being a unanimous 5-0 vote, Debbie Arnold abstained! Why?

She said she didn't have enough information and worried that litigation might lead to higher drug prices. "Oh gee, my OxyContin prescription—which I probably shouldn't have received in the first place—went up." Somebody's high. Δ

The Shredder just says yes. Send ideas and comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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