Archives for posts with tag: Energy

Our drinking water could be at risk.

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.

There is already a nationwide grassroots movement to ban the practices of acidizing and fracking.

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.

HERO Solar

A solar installer shown on the HERO website.

On February 4, 2014 the Fullerton City Council discussed the possible implementation of the Home Energy Renovation Program (HERO) to assist property owners who want to make energy efficiency improvements to their homes and businesses. HERO is a financing mechanism that allows owners to add solar panels, gray water systems, electric car chargers, tankless water heaters, better insulated windows and doors, and other infrastructural improvements that would lead to diminished energy use. Nine other Orange County cities have already signed on to the program, including Anaheim, Brea, and Newport Beach. Over one hundred and sixty cities have adopted the program statewide, with more expected this year.

What HERO provides, through the Western Riverside County of Governments, is a bond sale that finances energy efficiency improvements, with a lien tied to the property. The owner still pays back the loan, but it’s more like a mortgage payment made over a much longer period of time, and appears on the property’s tax bill.

Many homeowners balk at the high (though dropping) price of solar panels, for example, because the upfront costs are too expensive to justify the energy savings unless the occupant plans to stay in a home for the life of a mortgage. HERO will allow them to add these improvements now without having to foot the bill for future owners as well.

Other government programs have provided limited rebates for such investments, but HERO provides a much needed way to allow property owners to stop wasting so much water, electricity, and natural gas with the old technologies that power their houses and businesses. With energy costs at a premium already, and a seemingly continuous drought in California, it is critical that we find ways to shift over to sustainable levels of use as quickly as possible.

The Fullerton City Council should not only approve a resolution to participate in the HERO program, but should also correct the problem that has led to its necessity in the first place. All future developments in Fullerton should be required to be built with the kinds of improvements covered by HERO. It is absurd to build houses these days without solar panels and gray water systems that are simply part of the structure that is paid for over time with a mortgage loan. It is time to bring older structures up to speed with financing options that make energy efficient improvements feasible for everyone, and stop building new housing and other structures as if we are still living in the 20th Century.

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