One vitally important issue left entirely out of Fullerton’s pending Legislative Platform, to be considered tonight, is support for state legislation imposing a statewide moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, of oil and gas wells. Fracking has been linked to both groundwater contamination and earthquakes, and should be entirely banned as a method of fossil fuel extraction. The process, which involves injecting wells with unknown chemicals at high pressure to cause fissures, freeing deep deposits of gas and oil, also uses huge amounts of water our state can’t afford to waste.
Ohio recently declared local moratoriums on fracking after its Dept. of Natural Resources declared that there was probably a link between the process and the occurance of earthquakes near drilling sites. Closer to home, the City Council of Carson, CA voted unanimously last month to place a temporary ban on all new oil and gas drilling amid worries that fracking might be used to drill there. The City of Los Angeles has already banned the practices of fracking and acidizing of wells.
North Orange County residents are already asking whether or not the recent La Habra earthquake and it’s seemingly endless aftershocks were caused by fracking in the oil fields near its epicenter. While it is true that earthquakes are hardly a rarity in Calfironia, and that oil tends to be found near faultlines, it is not unreasonable to declare a moritorium on fracking in the city until we can find out for sure whether or not there is a connection. Let’s also lend our support to a statewide moritorium.
The Fullerton City Council’s 2014 Legislative Agenda should include strong support for Senate Bill 1132, which would institute a moritorium on fracking. The bill was approved, albeit narrowly, by the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee last week. Our state representatives, Assembly member Sharon Quirk-Silva and State Senator Bob Huff should be prepared to support this legislation, and our City Council should be there to back them up.
Chemical laden water is routinley pumped back into the ground to dispose of wastewater from fracking. Fullerton is lucky to have groundwater to supply much of our drinking water needs. Chemicals migrating from aging concrete lined wells, which ultimately fail over decades, could contaminate our drinking water, causing a catastrophe for the city. It is simply not worth the risk to allow drillers to extract the last deposits of fossil fuel from fields that have already been producing for the better part of a century.