Jul 29, 2014

State Senate Votes Against Bill to Pause Fracking -- Legislators Decide Efforts to Study Impact of Extraction Technology Not Necessary

Wednesday, May 29, 2014 -- California's State Senate voted today against a new bill that would pause fracking until more is known about its impact on water supplies, earthquake faults and other health concerns.   The vote came a day after panelists at a San Diego County forum on fracking essentially decided that we have insufficient information about this controversial oil and gas extraction technology and that we need to learn more before giving it public approval.

The Senate vote comes on the heels of the state's first-ever permanent ban on fracking, when last week the Santa Cruz County's Board of Supervisors unanimously voted for the ban.  Earlier this month, the city council of Beverly Hills passed its own fracking ban with another unanimous vote.  Several other counties and cities are soon to hold votes of their own on this issue.  The San Diego County forum was presented by Supervisor Dave Roberts, who is collecting information from residents on what direction the county should go on fracking.

Fracking is a mining technique in which water is mixed with sand and chemicals and the mixture is injected at high pressure into the well.  Up to five million gallons are needed to drill each well and the water is not salvageable due to its chemicals.  The current dump method is to pump it back in the ground, under the water table, regardless of earthquake fault locations.  

Peg Mitchell, a spokesperson for SanDiego350, said she was particularly upset that San Diego Senators voted against the proposed bill, SB 1132.  "It's a shame that our elected representatives have more concern over a false story of job loss and need for fossil fuels in spite of a majority of San Diegans expressing concerns about our drought, water availability, earthquakes and climate change impacts.  Senators Hueso and Anderson in particular should understand the value of renewable jobs given their districts, as well as Senator Block who flip flopped on the bill," she said.  "Investing in renewable energy and efficiency is the true job creator. For every $1 million invested, fracking creates 6.5 jobs while solar and wind bring in 13 jobs. Our Legislators need to realize it's time to make the switch to the green economy as we are running out of time."

​Polls by environmental groups show that more than two-thirds of Californians want a moratorium on fracking until it has been studied more closely by the scientific community.  ​  ​Polls by the LA Times and USC show 70% of Californians favored banning or heavily regulating fracking. ​  ​ 

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