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Sen. Mitchell’s Fracking Moratorium Bill Would Protect California From Air, Water Pollution As State Struggles With Crippling Drought


Originally published 12:16 a.m., February 21, 2014
Updated 12:16 a.m., February 21, 2014

A new bill from state Sen. Holly Mitchell that would impose a moratorium on fracking would protect California’s air, water and climate from pollution caused by this dangerous form of oil and gas extraction.

Senate Bill 1132 seeks to safeguard California’s water supply from overuse and contamination by fracking as the state struggles with a devastating drought.

“Senator Mitchell deserves applause for working to protect Californians from fracking pollution with a bill that stops the use of this toxic technique,” said Brian Nowicki of the Center for Biological Diversity. “A fracking halt is what’s needed in California, and a halt to fracking is what a majority of Californians support. To safeguard our air, water and climate, Sacramento legislators should move quickly to pass this badly needed bill.”

Fracking blasts massive amounts of chemical-laced water into the ground to crack rock formations. The process routinely employs numerous toxic chemicals, including methanol, benzene and trimethylbenzene.

Fracking has been documented in 10 California counties. Oil companies have also fracked offshore wells hundreds of times in the ocean near California’s coast, from Seal Beach to the Santa Barbara Channel.

Birth defects are more common in babies born to mothers living near fracked wells, according to a new study by researchers at the Colorado School of Public Health. Here in California, a recent Center report found that oil companies used 12 dangerous “air toxic” chemicals more than 300 times in the Los Angeles Basin over a period of a few months.

Even as California copes with a drought of historic proportions, an escalation of fracking threatens the state’s water supplies. The huge quantities of water used to frack wells are so contaminated that they must be removed from the hydrological cycle. Fracking chemicals can also pollute rivers, streams and aquifers. And fracking pollution contributes to climate change, which is worsening droughts in many areas.

Fracking can release huge quantities of methane, a dangerously potent greenhouse gas. Increased fracking threatens to unlock vast reserves of previously inaccessible fossil fuel deposits that would contribute to global warming and bring us closer to climate disaster.

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