SB 4 – a bill to impose regulations on fracking in the state passed the State Assembly on Wednesday 47-14 and the State Senate 28-8.
The bill will now head to Governor Jerry Brown, who is expected to sign it into law. If passed, the bill will require oil companies to obtain permits for fracking and acidizing, and would also require the companies to notify neighbors of their work, and fully disclose the public chemicals they use.
In addition, ground water and air quality would have to be monitored and independent scientific studies would be required.
Hydraulic fracturing – or fracking - involves injecting water, sand and chemicals into deep rock formations to release oil or natural gas.
However, some environmentalists don’t want fracking regulated – they want an outright ban on the practice. To date, 200,000 petitions have been signed by farmers, environmental justice groups, public health advocates and local elected officials to call for a ban on fracking.
Following Wednesday’s vote of the bill authored by Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills), the statewide coalition Californians Against Fracking issued a statement.
"This legislation does nothing to stop fracking or protect communities across the state from its harmful effects and last minute changes to the bill made it even worse," said Adam Scow, California campaigns director at Food & Water Watch. "The threats to our state's water, air, and climate are real and pressing and we don't have time for half measures like SB 4. We need courageous leadership – it’s time for Governor Brown to act now to ban fracking in California."
"There's only one prudent next step to protect California's water, air, and climate – for Governor Brown to place an immediate moratorium on fracking, acidizing, and other unconventional methods of exploiting fossil fuels," said Victoria Kaplan, campaign director at MoveOn.org. "Legislators have failed to heed the wishes of a majority of Californians calling for a moratorium or a ban and MoveOn members will continue to organize across the state for an end to fracking."
“The passage of SB 4 demonstrates the continuing stranglehold that Big Oil has on the political process in Sacramento. Attempts to find common ground with an industry hell-bent on exploiting every last drop of oil regardless of the impact on California’s water, valuable farmland and the climate are inevitably bound to fail. The passage of this mangled bill only confirms the need for a moratorium on these dangerous extraction techniques,” said Ross Hammond, senior campaigner with Friends of the Earth.
“This bill will not protect Californians from the enormous threats of fracking pollution,” said Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute. “Fracking poses unacceptable risks to the air we breathe, the water we drink and our climate. We’ll keep working to end this inherently dangerous activity in our state.”
Following the vote, Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), said, "I still believe that a moratorium is the best way to go with respect to fracking, but this bill is the next best alternative."
you think of SB 4? Do you think fracking should be regulated or completely
banned? Share your thoughts in the comments.