‘Fracking’ moratorium proposed by two L.A. City Council members
Los Angeles City Council members Paul Koretz and Mike Bonin are calling for a moratorium on the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” which is used by energy companies to extract hard-to-reach oil.
In a prepared statement Tuesday, the councilmen called fracking and its related processes a “major threat” to the city’s local water supply, air quality and private property. During fracking, oil companies add a chemical mix to pressurized water to improve oil and gas production in wells.
A similar process, called acidization, uses hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acids to break down shale formations covering potential oil reserves. Koretz and Bonin have called a Wednesday press conference to announce their support for a moratorium.
They will be joined by representatives of consumer and environmental groups, including the Los Angeles chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility and Citizens Coalition for a Safe Community.
Critics say the drilling techniques carry risks because chemicals could leach from wells into nearby water supplies. Oil companies say the processes have been used for decades without problems and are safe. Any action to ban the extraction methods would have to go through committee reviews, public hearings and a vote by the full council.
The council Tuesday voted unanimously to back a state legislative proposal, authored by Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills), that would for the first time impose a regulatory framework on so-called well-stimulation processes.
Pavley’s bill has been controversial because it would require oil companies to disclose the precise mix of chemicals used in fracking and acidization, something the industry has resisted. Four previous attempts to ban or impose a moratorium on fracking at the state level have failed.
Councilman Bernard C. Parks introduced a separate motion Tuesday that would direct the Planning Department and other City Hall officials to establish land use regulations and zoning laws that would “ensure public health and safety is protected from the negative impacts of fracking activities.” His motion will go to committee for review.
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