Los Angeles Considers A Ban On Fracking
Two Los Angeles city council members have proposed a ban on fracking until oil companies can prove the controversial practice won't pollute the air and water and cause seismic damage.Councilmen Paul Koretz and Mike Bonin introduced a motion yesterday to ban "all activity associated with well stimulation, including, but not limited to, hydraulic fracturing, gravel packing, and acidizing, or any combination thereof, and the use of waste disposal injection wells," according to City News Service. They propose doing this by passing it on to the city's Planning and Land Use Management Committee that would ban the practice through land use and zoning laws—at least until oil companies can prove their methods are safe.
Koretz said at a press conference, "If a group of people poisoned millions of gallons of California's water while no one was looking we would label it terrorism and call out the troops. Yet that's what's happening with fracking right now in California."
It's not clear whether there are any fracking projects (or proposals) going on in the city itself that would be affected by the proposal.
One of the biggest fracking projects locally is taking place just outside of Los Angeles city limits. Oil companies have been fracking right in the Inglewood Oil Field in Culver City and unincorporated Baldwin Hills. The fields were thought to be all tapped out, but just as crude oil prices were skyrocketing in 2004, a company called PXP secured rights for three new oil wells. Residents in the surrounding neighborhoods have blamed this latest round of drilling for creating cracks in their homes' foundation and giving off noxious gas that prompted an evacuation in 2006. And that was before the fracking.
Oil companies started fracking in these fields recently, and a study sponsored by the oil field's owner and the county said fracking wouldn't cause any harm to residents. More than 1 million residents live within 5 miles of the fields.
But residents, anti-fracking activists and some scientists worry that the chemicals used in fracking could also taint local drinking water or even cause earthquakes (the Inglewood oil fields sit on top of the Inglewood-Newport faultline that is believed to be capable of a magnitude 7 temblor).
So far efforts to regulate fracking at the state level have failed. There's another bill being proposed by Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) but it faces an uphill battle to passage, according to the Los Angeles Times.
It was recently revealed that fracking has been taking place off the coast of Santa Barbara without the knowledge of local politicians—without much knowledge about how the practice itself affects the marine environment.