Fracking Moratorium Bill by Assemblymember Holly Mitchell Moves Forward

April 30, 2013

In the first test of recent efforts to address safety and environmental concerns about fracking, a bill by Assemblymember Holly J. Mitchell (D-Culver City) which would impose a moratorium on the practice in California, has passed out of the Assembly's Natural Resources Committee.

AB 1323, which would halt hydraulic fracturing or fracking -- the infusion under high pressure of chemicals, sand and water underground to release oil or natural gas – until state-sponsored research determines whether it can be done safely and specifies conditions for its regulated use. On a party line vote the committee sent the bill to the Appropriations Committee. Despite growing concerns about fracking's impacts on people and the environment, earlier legislative efforts to limit or ban the practice failed.

The largest oil field in the state intended for major use of fracking is in a densely-populated, predominantly minority area of my district, said Assemblymember Holly Mitchell, who represents Culver City and parts of Los Angeles within half a mile of the Inglewood Oil Field which surrounds Hahn State Park, Yet no one has proven that it can be done safely close to so many homes. I'm glad committee members agreed that this step is necessary.

Nearly 30 organizational representatives and individuals stepped forward to testify in favor of AB 1323, the first of three bills heard and approved by the committee that could establish moratoriums on fracking. In arguing against the proposed restrictions, the opponents' spokesman conceded that Mitchell's situation is unique due to the unusually high population density in close proximity to the oil field in Mitchell's district.

Contact: Charles Stewart, (310)482-1070