LA city Council to vote on fracking ban - why has Ventura County Counsel told Sups they Can't do that?
The LA times has reported that the LA City Council is going to vote on a fracking ban within their city limits. Other cities around the nation have passed bans, Pittsburgh, PA being the first to do so by local city ordinance. The Pittsburgh city council was threatened with law suits, but none were ever filed. Last year, when the topic came up before the Ventura County Board of Supervisors, County Counsel advised them that they did not have the ability to ban hydraulic fracturing in the County. And Supervisor Steve Bennet indicated he did not "want to create a path to litigation" for the County.
This brings up issues of preemption and whether the State has total authority over the use of land within various boundaries, it can get a bit murky when you say that the STate has jurisdiction below the ground, the actual drilling part, but the County has authority for the surface.
Some communities on the east coast have found what might be a back door way to ban fracking by working to ban the transport of fracking waste within their city or county limits.
The LA Times Article:
First step toward fracking ban in L.A. taken by land use panel
By Emily Alpert ReyesFebruary 25, 2014, 8:25 p.m.
A Los Angeles City Council committee took a first step Tuesday toward banning hydraulic fracturing and other disputed practices tied to oil extraction, winning cheers and applause from a packed auditorium.
"Fracking and other unconventional drilling is happening here in Los Angeles, and without the oversight and review to keep our neighborhoods safe," Councilman Mike Bonin told the Planning and Land Use Management Committee.... read the full article here http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-los-angeles-fracking-ban-20140225,0,3908061.story#ixzz2uVVV21fa
Another story, another perspective of the Job Boom the industry says comes with the enhanced production of oil and gas. This short film from the NY Times, focuses on one woman's experience in North Dakota. California is estimated to have many times more oil under our soil.
"Running on Fumes in North Dakota," NY Times.
Brightsource is offering a greener way to produce hot steam for the enhanced oil recovery technique ' steam injection', does this really make the process greener?
To read more about this technology on the Brightsource website Click Here.
It's not over yet. The bill has passed the Assembly, it now goes back to the senate and if it gets past that body it will land on the governors desk. But this was a big step, with several amendments.
First the local response from Citizens for Responsible Oil and Gas:
"CFROG reminds all that this is only the first step toward making sure the recovery of shale oil beneath Ventura County will not damage the environment," said John Brooks, president of CFROG. "The state regulations control what happens underground, everything else like truck traffic on roads, land use, noise ,air quality ,water quality and supply, access roads and graded pads is the responsibility of the Ventura County Board of Supervisors and our city councils. Nothing in the legislation prevents local agencies from moving forward with independent CEQA review of the above ground impacts of tapping the Monterrey shale oil and CFROG needs your help to make sure that will be the next step."
As expected, the industry's response is tepid.
"WSPA members are disappointed the Assembly passed SB 4 in its current form. We have acknowledged the need to develop comprehensive and balanced regulations of hydraulic fracturing in California and had hoped SB 4 would provide those regulations," said Catherine Reheis-Boyd, president of Western States Petroleum Association. "Unfortunately, SB 4 could create conditions that will make it difficult to continue to provide a reliable supply of domestic petroleum energy for California."
And, here is the complete press release from state senator Fran Pavley (D - Agoura Hills) :
California Assembly Votes to Regulate Fracking
For Immediate Release
September 11, 2013
Contact: Will Jason
"SACRAMENTO – The California State Assembly voted 48-17 Wednesday to approve Senate Bill 4 (Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills), a stunning victory for the public and the environment that moves California a step closer to regulating hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), acidizing and other unregulated oilfield practices.
Unlike at least 14 petroleum producing states including Texas and Wyoming, California does not currently regulate fracking, which is the injection of water, sand and chemicals underground to crack rock formations and free up oil and gas. The state also lacks regulations for acidizing, which is the use of hydrofluoric acid and other corrosive acids to dissolve shale rock. Oil companies have predicted acidizing could be the primary tool for accessing the Monterey Shale, the nation’s largest shale oil deposit with an estimated 15.4 billion barrels of recoverable oil.
SB 4 would require permits for fracking, acidizing and other oil well stimulation practices. It would require notification of neighbors, public disclosure of all chemicals used, groundwater and air quality monitoring and an independent scientific study. The study would evaluate potential risks such as groundwater and surface water contamination, greenhouse gas emissions, local air pollution, seismic impacts, and effects on wildlife, native plants and habitat.
“I commend my colleagues for this crucial and difficult vote,” Pavley said. “There are still many unanswered questions about the use and impacts of fracking and acidizing, and it is in the interest of all Californians to monitor and regulate these practices. Ultimately the oil industry, not the public, should be held accountable for the costs of these activities.”
The bill will be sent to the Senate for concurrence."
And now for word on the cool response from several environmental groups.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press contact: Jessica Lass, 415-875-6143 / email@example.com
California’s Fracking Bill Passes Assembly with Flawed Amendments
NRDC, California League of Conservation Voters, Clean Water Action and Environmental Working Group Oppose New Amendments, No Longer Support SB4
SACRAMENTO (September 11, 2013) – "The only remaining California bill this term to address fracking (SB 4) passed through the Assembly this morning with new amendments by the oil and gas industry that undermine the bill’s original intent. The Natural Resources Defense Council, California League of Conservation Voters, Clean Water Action and Environmental Working Group no longer support SB4 due to these amendments.
“Californians deserve to have their health and drinking water sources protected from oil and gas development. Last-minute amendments, added due to oil industry pressure, threaten to weaken the environmental review required by CEQA,” said Miriam Gordon, California Director of Clean Water Action.
“This unfortunate turn of events should give Governor Brown even more reason to immediately put in place a moratorium on fracking and well stimulation while the state evaluates the risks,” said Damon Nagami, senior attorney for NRDC.
“We appreciate Senator Pavley’s leadership in addressing the environmental and public health threats from fracking,” said Sarah Rose, CEO of CLCV.
Prior to the introduction of the new amendments that compromise the bill, NRDC, CLCV, CWA and EWG had been working to put the critical safeguards that SB4 contains – new permit requirements, groundwater monitoring, public notification, inter agency management and independent hazards study – in place to protect Californians from risky fracking activities. "
Another group opposing SB 4 is Physicians for Social Responsibility.
Keep an eye out for a lobbying push from the energy sector and environmental groups that oppose and support this bill. Notice what kind of response the governor's administration provides.
This week in VC: Profracking Editorial, Oil Industry Trade Group to speak to santa Paula Chamber of Commerce & VC Air Pollution Control District to discuss fracking
In today's VC Star Mr. Dave Quast has penned a pro-fracking piece that is aimed at debunking the "fringe" concerns about tracking. Quast is "California director of Energy in Depth, an education and outreach program of the California Independent Petroleum Association and the Independent Petroleum Association of America." Consider the source.
I wonder if the California Association of Nurses, Family Farm Defenders and Breast Cancer Action consider themselves "fringe activist groups" - they supported the proposed (and now killed) bill calling for a moratorium on fracking till regulations are put in place.
And to be clear, while conventional drilling and the construction of wells is covered by extensive rules that are on the books, hydraulic fracturing and other enhanced oil recovery techniques are not specifically regulated, and in fact fracking is called out and exempted from our federal environmental laws (2005 amendment to Safe Drinking Water Act - referred to as the "Halliburton Loophole"). That fact, taken with the limited resources of our state regulatory agency - there are five officials in the County responsible for all the wells - might seem like effective oversight to the industry, the public may feel differently.
To read Mr. Quasts editorial visit the VC Star:
Ms. Burkhart is expected to speak about WSPA's stance on the safety of hydraulic fracturing and the job boom it is expected to bring to the area. The California Chamber of Commerce consistently opposes fracking moratoriums calling them "job killers."
11 am Tuesday, June 11: the VC Air Pollution Control District will be examining the recent fracking rules put in place by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (Click Here to read about those rules, the FIRST of their kind in California)
"Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks of Thousand Oaks asked the executive director of the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District to report on the South Coast Air Quality Management District's new rule on fracking and if there is something similar the Ventura County APCD may want to do. Click here to read report to be discussed.
The matter will be discussed on Tuesday, June 11, at approximately 11 a.m. at the county of Ventura Board of Supervisors meeting in the Administration Building of the county Government Center, 800 S. Victoria Ave., Ventura.