The Ventura County Democratic Central Committee passed, on a near-unanimous voice vote, a resolution calling for a moratorium on fracking (hydraulic fracturing) within the state of California until such time as legislation/regulations are passed to guarantee public health and safety and until climate change impacts are addressed. Fracking is facing increasing scrutiny in California from oil companies seeing a new black gold; from environmentalists worried about impacts to land, water, and air; and from legislators seeking to allay citizen concerns. RL Miller, author of the resolution, states that the climate impacts of fracking – which cannot be addressed by regulation – are most worrisome; fracking California’s 15 billion barrels of oil easily available through new fracking techniques has the same climate impact as delaying California’s global warming law for 80 years, and it’s nearly as bad for the climate as the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Locally, it’s known that one of Ventura County’s 600 wells have been fracked, and it’s believed that all of them have been, but the state has lost track of fracking.
Three Ventura County legislators have introduced bills seeking to regulate fracking. Miller hopes that they will see the resolution as exemplifying the will of their constituents to not just regulate it, but to place a moratorium on it. Further, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors should find a way to protect their citizens from potentially dangerous practices.
The text of the resolution reads:
RESOLUTION – MORATORIUM ON HYDRAULIC FRACTURING
WHEREAS, hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as “fracking,” is a technique that injects water, sand, and toxic chemicals at high pressure deep into the ground, often traveling horizontally, to extract oil or gas from shale or other dense rock;
WHEREAS, fracking uses large amounts of water, thus reducing its availability for agriculture and other public use; uses chemicals that can contaminate the water supply and can cause cancer; creates wastewater that can bring deep earth contaminants to the surface; releases methane gas that exacerbates climate change and pollutes the air with asthma-causing smog; can induce earthquakes; and continues our dependence on fossil fuels;
WHEREAS, fracking is currently exempt from regulation under the Safe Water Drinking Act and is not yet regulated in California, and as a result the chemicals are treated as trade secrets and location of fracked wells is not made public;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Ventura County Democratic Party supports an immediate moratorium on fracking with such a moratorium to remain in place until (a) legislation, ordinances, and regulations are put in place that guarantee public health and safety, and address the impacts of climate change; (b) immediate testing and disclosure of all sites currently being fracked or that have been fracked in the past; and c) substitution of renewable energy wherever feasible;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Ventura County Democratic Party send a copy of this resolution to the Governor of the State of California, United States Senators representing California, Members of Congress representing any part of Ventura County, members of the state senate and state assembly representing any part of Ventura County, and all members of the Ventura County Board of Supervisors, asking them to take action.
Submitted by RLMiller 2/14/2013
Passed Ventura County Democratic Party Central Committee 2/26/2013