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A bill imposing a moratorium on fracking and acidizing for oil extraction in California passed through the Senate Environmental Quality Committee today by a 5 to 2 vote.

Senators Mark Leno, Jerry Hill, Loni Hancock, Hannah-Beth Jackson and Fran Pavley voted for Senate Bill 1132, while Senators Ted Gaines and Jean Fuller voted against it.

Authored by Senators Holly Mitchell and Mark Leno, SB 1132 would require the Natural Resources Agency to facilitate an "independent scientific study" on well stimulation treatments (fracking and acidizing) and their hazards and risks to natural resources and public, occupational, and environmental health and safety by January 1, 2015.

“People must come before profits,” said Senator Mitchell after the vote. “My community needs jobs, but those jobs need to be safe for workers and surrounding communities.”

The legislation also:

• Requires the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) to adopt rules and regulations for well stimulation treatments by January 1, 2015, in consultation with the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), CalRecycle, and any local air and regional water quality control boards and

• Requires DOGGR to complete a statewide environmental impact report (EIR) by July 1, 2015.

The bill allows operators to continue well stimulation practices while DOGGR completes its regulations, providing that the well owner complies with interim requirements.

A standing room only of fracking opponents, ranging from representatives of labor unions to environmental groups, packed the room.

Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association, the most powerful corporate lobbying group in Sacramento, and other opponents of the bill claimed that the environment is already protected by the passage of Senate Bill 4 last year.

“Senate Bill 4 put in the framework to make sure there is a balance between environmental protection and energy production in California,” said Reheis-Boyd. “California now has the most comprehensive regulations regarding hydraulic fracturing in the nation.”

She added that the state was the third largest consumer of oil and gas in the world, exceeded only by China and the United States – and that it needs to step up its domestic oil production to become less dependent on foreign oil arriving by tanker ships.

“I’m thrilled that the oil industry accepts Senate Bill 4, which covers all methods of oil extraction,” said Senator Holly Mitchell. However, Mitchell said that additional independent studies of the risk of fracking and acidization to human health are needed, prompting her and Leno to author Senate Bill 1132.

In response to some oil industry claims that this bill would conflict with Senate Bill 4, she emphasized, “Nothing in the intent or language of SB 1132 would derail SB 4.”

After the bill passed the Committee, representatives of Californians Against Fracking, United Native Americans and the Center for Biological Diversity commented on the victory.

“It’s exciting that Senate Bill 1132 passed through the Committee today,” said David Braun of Californians Against Fracking. “It’s another step in the right direction.”

He added that people need to keep pressure on their Legislators to make sure the bill is approved when it goes though its next hurdle, the Appropriations Committee. On April 8, the Senate Natural Resources Committee approved the bill.

According to Braun, the industry's own data indicated that 5 to 6% of the casings for fracked wells fail in the first year of operation - and 50 percent fail over a 30-year period.

“It’s great that the bill is moving forward,” said Hillary Aidun, Anti-Fracking Organizer for the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s important that so much attention has been brought to the science that demonstrates that fracking is a threat to health and the environment.”

Quanah Parker Brightman, Executive Director of United Native Americans, said, “I came here to the bring the voice of indigenous nations to the hearing.”

“I call on all tribal nations to use their sovereign immunity to pass resolutions banning fracking on indigenous lands and also to reach out to their Congressmen, Senators and other elected officials to ban fracking locally,” he noted.

Fracking has resulted in contamination of ground water and surface water supplies wherever the oil industry has used this environmentally destructive oil extraction method in the United States.

“Water is one of the four sacred elements. No matters what race or color you are, we’re all part of the human race. We have to defend Mother Earth – we don’t have another planet to go to,” he concluded.

The bill passed through Committee as Governor Jerry Brown is promoting the expansion of fracking (hydraulic fracturing) in California and the construction of the peripheral tunnels under the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP). The tunnels would provide water for corporate agribusiness, oil companies conducting fracking and steam injection operations in Kern County, and Southern California water agencies. The implementation of the tunnels plan would hasten the extinction of Central Valley salmon, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, as well as imperil the salmon and steelhead populations of the Trinity and Klamath river.

The oil industry is the most powerful corporate lobby in Sacramento. Stop Fooling California recently released a chart revealing that the oil industry, including the Western States Petroleum Association, Chevron, BP and other oil companies, spent over $56.63 million on lobbying at the State Capitol in the five years from 2009 through 2013. (

Two senators voting against bill received big contributions from Big OIl

An analysis by Oil Change International based on its Dirty Energy Money database reveals that the 2 Senators voting against the fracking moratorium received $50,050 in campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry in the last election cycle, while the 5 Senators in support of the moratorium have received a combined $7850 from industry in the same time period.

"In other words, Senators voting against the moratorium today received 16 times as much in fossil fuel contributions, on average, than those Senators in support of the bill," according to a press release from Oil Change International.

In response to the vote to move the SB1132 fracking moratorium bill forward, David Turnbull, Campaigns Director of Oil Change International released the following statement:

“Today’s vote in the Senate Environmental Quality Committee saw Big Oil and its friends face off against the voices of real Californians concerned about fracking in our state. And Big Oil lost. Despite pumping tens of thousands of dollars into the committee, the industry was unsuccessful in using its money to drown out the real and serious dangers fracking poses to our state.

But today’s vote is just one step towards stopping fracking in California and therefore safeguarding our communities today and our climate for future generations. Sacramento is bubbling over with dirty money from the oil industry, and you can be sure they’ll be throwing their weight around as this bill moves forward. But the people of California are standing up and our voices will be heard. Whether it’s stopped by the California legislature or Governor Brown, Californians will continue to raise their voices until fracking in California comes to an end.”

For more Dirty Energy Money information in the California Senate, see

Originally posted to Dan Bacher on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 06:24 PM PDT.

Also republished by Southern California Inland Empire Kossacks, Central Valley Kossacks, California politics, San Diego Kossacks, SFKossacks, and Los Angeles Kossacks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I don't see any allusions above to the increased (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BMScott, 3rock, old wobbly, HoundDog, LinSea, KenBee

    potential for earthquakes generated by fracking. That would be another leg I'd add to the stool, especially because the science is starting to solidify around the link between the two.

    If there's one place in America that doesn't need help generating earthquakes, it's California. Fracking here strikes me as fundamentally insane.

    "And now we know that government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob." -- FDR

    by Mogolori on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 07:11:33 PM PDT

    •  as well as in the fractured and weepy Santa Barbar (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Channel where they have been fracking unannounced and unregulated for years now, much to the horror of the local oil watchdogs here in Santa Barbara, home of the oil spill and the first Earth Day in commemoration..

      This machine kills Fascists.

      by KenBee on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 10:31:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That '69 event propelled my WWII veteran (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        and very conservative great uncle toward a retirement of emviromnental advocacy on behalf of the Channel. He was horrified and appalled by the scope and carelessness of the disaster.

        "And now we know that government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob." -- FDR

        by Mogolori on Thu May 01, 2014 at 08:04:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Not a surprise (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Actually, the local oil watchdogs shouldn't have been surprised that the oil industry was fracking in the Santa Barbara Channel, when you consider that the chair of the panel that created the fake "marine protected areas" in Southern California was the President of the Western States Petroleum Association.

        This is yet another "I could have told you so" moment. The corporate "environmental" NGOs supported the oil industry lobbyist's leadership of a panel that created "marine protected areas" that exempted the oil industry and other corporate polluters.

        As an authentic investigative journalist, as opposed to the corporate media hacks who expressed "surprise" about the fracking of marine waters, I warned everybody in article after article about what would happen when the fox was in charge of the hen house. The state and federal regulators and the corporate environmentalists are all drenched in fracked oil from the Santa Barbara Channel, but they won't take any responsibility for it.

  •  Great news. Thanks Dan. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LinSea, KenBee

    "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

    by HoundDog on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 07:50:23 PM PDT

  •  Tomorrow, Senator Hill is having an open (0+ / 0-)

    house at his office. I'll be sure to thank him. Our club visited him last week as did Credo to ask him to support this bill.

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam> "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." Edna St.V. Millay

    by slouching on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 09:47:48 PM PDT

  •  Good news, but pls ID California Sen. in headline (0+ / 0-)

    Are Californians becoming as myopic as New Yorkers?

    There's no such thing as a free market!

    by Albanius on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 10:07:26 PM PDT

    •  Why? (0+ / 0-)

      Why is it so important to put California in the headline? The opening sentence clearly states that this in California. There is nothing "myopic" about this. When headlines are written, it's best to make them as short as possible.

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