Santa Barbara
70° F
Clear
Clear
Santa Maria
51° F
Clear
Clear
San Luis Obispo
53° F
Clear
Clear
Ventura
59° F
Clear
Clear

State lawmakers consider fracking moratorium

By Sara Bush
Published On: Apr 30 2013 12:45:55 AM CDT
Updated On: Apr 30 2013 12:56:38 PM CDT

A controversial oil drilling process is back in the spotlight this week as state lawmakers are considering a temporary ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -

A controversial oil drilling process is back in the spotlight this week as state lawmakers are considering a temporary ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Even Hollywood has tackled the topic.

In the movie promised land, Matt Damon plays a salesman for a natural gas company, hoping to use the process to extract natural gas from deep underneath a small town.

Fracking involves blasting water, sand and chemicals into deep rock formations to release oil or natural gas.

It's getting a lot of attention as drilling companies look to expand production from one of the country's largest shale oil formations.

"It’s a pretty safe process.  It's pretty well understood.  It's becoming much more effective now at extracting oil and gas from rock strata and reservoirs that previously couldn't be extracted," explained Bruce Allen, physicist and co-founder of Stop Oil Seeps.

Environmental advocates say there's not enough information on fracking's long-term consequences.

"First and foremost, nobody knows what chemicals are being used and nobody knows where the fracking is being conducted in the state, so essentially its being done with blinders on," said Brian Segee, a staff attorney with the Environmental Defense Center.

Allen argued, "Fracking has been around since 1945, and over 1 million wells have been fracked in the U.S. According to the E.P.A., there have been no confirmed ground water contamination issues."

About two years ago, Santa Barbara County Supervisors unanimously voted to regulate fracking within the county, after a company used the technique in Los Alamos.

"They said 'if fracking is done in our area, we want to know before hand, and we want environmental analysis done.'  Santa Barbara County is a leader in that respect. The county has stepped in where the state and federal government have not," said Segee.

California lawmakers are considering temporarily banning the process while studies are done on its effects.

Bills to halt the fracking pending a review of environmental and health impacts have passed their first legislative hurdle.

The Assembly Natural Resources Committee advanced three measures Monday that would prohibit fracking temporarily. The drilling technique involves blasting water, sand and chemicals into deep rock formations to release oil or natural gas.

The bills call for an advisory committee to review health impacts and for lawmakers to approve rules for how fracking can occur.

Environmental advocates say there's too little information on the long-term consequences of hydraulic fracturing. Industry officials cite decades of using the technique in California and elsewhere without any contamination incidents.

"I think putting a moratorium on now is counter-productive, and unnecessary. I think it needs to be carefully regulated and monitored, but I don't think its preventing undue risk," said Allen.

"Rather than have the fracking rush happen, and then find out the problem later, there's a reason to pause, and it’s just a pause, now to get a sense of the impacts," argued Segee.

The measures - AB649, AB1301 and AB1323 - cleared the committee on identical votes of 5-3. Republicans opposed the bills.

State environmental regulators are working on new rules, but they aren't expected to be made final until next year.

 

Comments

The views expressed are not those of this company or its affiliated companies. Please note by clicking on "Post" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms Of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. 
blog comments powered by Disqus
  • fatal_accident_investigation

    Extensive Investigation into Triple Fatal Accident

    An extensive investigation is underway to determine the cause of death in a triple fatal rollover accident Monday morning in Santa Barbara.

  • Triple Fatal Auto Accident on Highway

    3 Dead In Early Morning Accident, Driver Arrested For DUI

    The 101 southbound through Santa Barbara reopened just before 12:30 Monday afternoon as authorities investigate what they say was a deadly two car DUI accident.

  • fuzion_store_business_santa_barbara

    UCSB Group Boycotts Business For Promoting Deltopia

    A UCSB student group is boycotting a local business for creating the Deltopia Facebook page, which they said brought in thousands of outsiders to the small college town.

  • girl_child_coughing_sick_whooping_cough

    Contagious Diseases Making a Comeback in California

    Deadly diseases that were a thing of the past are making a comeback in California.

  • Witnesses to Fatal Crash

    Eyewitnesses See Triple Fatal Crash from Roadside Camp

    A homeless couple watching the freeway from their campsite in Santa Barbara this morning, witnessed the triple fatal accident that took the lives of two teens and a young man.

  • Triple Fatal Auto Accident on Highway

    DUI Driver in Fatal Early Morning Accident Ordered to Detox Program in 1995

    The Santa Barbara woman arrested for DUI in the early morning accident that left three people dead early Monday morning has a lengthy court record out of Ventura County. Kimberly Kreis, 52, was ordered to serve 30 days in a detox program as far back as 1995.

    The car that Kreis was driving crashed into a disabled Mazda near the Castillo off-ramp of the southbound 101 freeway in Santa Barbara. Two 17 year old North Torrance High School students were killed in the accident- Jessica Leffew and Danielle Murillo. 20 year old Brian Lopez also died in the wreck. The driver of the Mazda, Eric August, is hospitalized in critical condition.

    A NewsChannel 3 investigation found records out of Ventrua County that appear to show that Greis has at least one prior conviction involving drugs and or alcohol, and in 1995 she was ordered to serve 30 days in a Cottage Hospital detox program.

    CHP investigators are still trying to piece together why the Mazda veered right into a guardrail, causing it to flip onto it's roof before coming to rest in the middle of the southbound freeway, which set into motion the deadly accident.

    CHP Officer Jonathan Guiterrez, said "A lot of things could have happened, He could have fallen asleep. We just don't know at this point."

  • Parents of Mallory Dies Sue Congresswoman, Her Former Aide, and U.S. Government

    The parents of a young Santa Barbara woman killed in a high profile, DUI case are suing Congresswoman Lois Capps, her former aide Raymond Morua, and the U-S government in federal court.

  • Larry Lee Cal Poly Coach

    Cal Poly Baseball Earns No. 1 National Ranking

    The Mustangs achieved the school's second No. 1 national ranking in Division I as Collegiate Baseball Newspaper has placed Cal Poly atop its Top 30.

  • Lupita Nyong'o

    REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

    People's 'World's Most Beautiful' list 2014

    People magazine recently named Lupita Nyong'o its "World's Most Beautiful" for 2014. See which other ladies earned a coveted spot on the annual list.

  • Slideshow: Extensive Investigation into Triple Fatal Accident

    An extensive investigation is underway to determine the cause of death in a triple fatal rollover accident Monday morning in Santa Barbara.