California has passed a bill that will ban temporarily fracking in the state when it held its first Senate panel yesterday.
Fracking, or technically hydraulic fracturing, is a controversial technique that involves pumping in fine sand, water and chemicals into shale rocks at high pressure to release trapped oil and gas which is then pumped out.
The bill, SB 1132, was sponsored by Sen. Holly Mitchell, a Democrat who represents South Los Angeles. The measure was passed by the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water by a 5 to 2 vote. Some Democrats abstained from voting, while Chairwoman Fran Pavley (D-Aguora Hills) retained a courtesy vote to ensure that the issue remains up for more talks that may result in some alterations on the bill.
The moratorium will suspend further fracking until a research is done on the issue to find out whether it is safe for people’s health and environment.
“There are too many residents whose concerns are valid around public health and safety,” said Mitchell.
Data shows that at least 1,500 wells in California have been fracked, mostly in Kern County and near Yuba City and Long Beach. Fracking is expected to release 13.7 billion barrels of crude oil in California, mostly from the Monterey Shale geological formation, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
“It brings the opportunity to turn around the domestic (petroleum) production from on a slight decline to stable to increase. And so the job potential — let’s say in the Central Valley — is 200,000 jobs,” Catherine Reheis-Boyd, who is the president of the Western States Petroleum Association, was quoted by KCRA Sacramento.
To contact the reporter of this story; Jonathan Millet at email@example.com