News Feature | March 25, 2014

Los Angeles To Ban Fracking?

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome


Los Angeles may place a moratorium on fracking. 

"Amid an outcry from worried residents and environmental activists, Los Angeles is poised to ban hydraulic fracturing, acidizing and other technologies used to increase production from oil and gas wells," the Los Angeles Times reported

That would make L.A. "the largest U.S. city to prohibit the highly controversial oil and gas drilling procedure," according to RT. 

"On February 28, 2014, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously ordered a new municipal ordinance to be crafted, which would ban hydraulic fracturing and other well-stimulation activities, such as acidizing, within the city confines," Sedgwick Law reported in an analysis piece.

The ordinance would place a moratorium on “all activity associated with well stimulation, including, but not limited to, hydraulic fracturing, gravel packing, and acidizing, or any combination thereof, and the use of waste disposal injection wells," the analysis said. 

"The ordinance must still be drafted and is subject to additional public input before being presented to the City Council for a final vote," the law firm explained. 

"Council members say 'unconventional' drilling practices — often referred to as fracking, acidization and gravel-packing — endanger the city’s water supply and increase the risk of earthquakes," the Los Angeles Wave reported.  

The decision follows "a string of bans enacted by municipalities in New York, Texas, Hawaii, New Mexico (a countywide ban was enacted), Vermont, and New Jersey," Sedgwick Law said. 

"If Los Angeles’s moratorium ordinance is approved, it would stay in effect until oil companies can assure that the city’s water supply is safe, that the practice does not otherwise harm the environment and the companies are fully disclosing the chemicals used, according to the motion by councilmen Paul Koretz and Mike Bonin," the Wave said. 

Koretz said at a news conference before the vote, per the Times: "Until these radical methods of oil and gas extraction are at the very least covered by the Safe Drinking Water Act, until chemicals are disclosed and problems are honestly reported, until we're safe from earthquakes, until our atmosphere is safe from methane leaks, we need a fracking moratorium."

Some California lawmakers want to ban fracking at the state level. 

In February, they "unveiled a new bill that would halt fracking and other controversial oil extraction practices in the state until a comprehensive review of their impact is complete, reigniting a legislative debate that fracking opponents lost last year," Reuters reported

Proponents of a state ban connected their effort to the California drought. 

"A moratorium on fracking is especially critical as California faces a severe drought with water resources at an all-time low," state Sen. Mark Leno of San Francisco said to Reuters. 

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Image credit: "Los Angeles at Night from the Griffith Observatory," @andrewghayes © 2010, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license:

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