July 22, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Fracking Bill Fails in State Senate

fracking
Fracking taking place at night. A proposed moratorium on fracking for all of California failed in the State Senate. (Thinkstock)

The Los Angeles City Council had scheduled a vote on June 4 to support a bill in the State Senate that proposed to impose a moratorium on fracking in all of California. However, the bill was defeated May 29 on the State Senate floor, so it is unclear how the council will go forward with its potential vote to support the bill.

State Senator Holly Mitchell, D-Century City, earlier this year introduced Senate Bill 1132 (SB 1132) to impose a statewide moratorium on a practice using pressurized liquid to fracture underground rock for the purposes of extracting petroleum or gas.

Colloquially known as “fracking,” the process of hydraulic fracturing, according to the City of Los Angeles’ Chief Legislative Analyst (CLA), specifically involves the use of “water, sand, and other chemicals of various types” combined into a mixture that is injected into a wellbore – a drilled whole into the ground for purposes of oil exploration – to create a small fracture less than one millimeter in size.

The creations of these fractures allow gas or petroleum to “migrate” to the wellbore, allowing it to be extracted.

Proponents of fracking hope to use the practice as a means for discovering and sourcing domestic oil and thereby reducing America’s reliance on foreign oil.

However, fracking opponents claim the action is harmful to the environment, threatens the local water supply, and increases the risks of earthquake activity and frequency.

SB 1132 proposed to place a moratorium on fracking until more information about the activity’s potential environmental and health risks is fully understood.

Two councilmen who represent the Westside in City Hall – Mike Bonin and Paul Koretz – proposed a resolution in advance of the State Senate vote to garner official support for Mitchell’s bill.

“Until a detailed and comprehensive study has been performed on the potential public health and environmental risks associated with fracking – and subsequent risk mitigation strategies and public health and environmental protection requirements have been implemented – Los Angeles residents should not be subject to the increased risks that come with fracking operations in and around their communities,” the resolution stated.

Under current State law, companies in the oil and gas industries who practice fracking are reportedly granted exemptions from environmental and public health laws and regulations.

For now, it appears as if the State law would remain in effect as the proposed fracking moratorium did not garner enough support in Sacramento.

The bill failed to pass a May 29 vote, with 16 State Senators voting in support of SB 1132 and another 16 opposing; there were eight senators who did not record a vote on the bill.

According to news reports, seven Democrats were among the naysayers. State Sen. Ted Lieu, whose district includes Santa Monica, voted in favor of Mitchell’s bill.

The bill was co-authored by State Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco.

Multiple news reports indicated lobbyists spent about $15 million to specifically defeat SB 1132.

On Feb. 28, the City of Los Angeles unanimously approved its own moratorium on fracking within its borders. The motion proposing to place the fracking moratorium within city limits was brought to the dais by Bonin and Koretz.

Fracking moratoriums were also imposed in the cities of Beverly Hills and Santa Cruz, according to reports.

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