Senator Holly Mitchell’s Fracking Moratorium Bill Steams Ahead

May 01, 2014

Sacramento – The moratorium on fracking for oil in California, proposed in SB 1132 by Senators Holly J. Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), continues its forward momentum in the state Legislature, passing on a 5-2 vote out of the Senate’s Environmental Quality Committee. This is the second Senate committee to approve the bill, which earlier this month received a majority vote in the Natural Resources and Water Committee, and now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

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

SB 1132 would halt “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 sets the conditions for its regulated use.

“SB 1132 also adds safeguards for other forms of oil stimulation, such as acidization, that are under-regulated but remain in use, particularly in low income communities,” said Senator Mitchell, who represents West Adams and University Park in South Los Angeles, where oil operations and noxious fumes continue to evoke anxiety and complaints from the largely minority neighborhoods adjacent to oil extraction sites. Data from the Air Quality Management District reveals that last year nearly half of the reported oil well activity in Southern California occurred within 1500 feet of such vulnerable sites as homes, schools and health care facilities.

"In just the last four months, new research and reports from around the country have linked fracking and well stimulation to high levels of air pollution, hormone-disrupting chemicals in drinking water, earthquakes and other significant health and environmental impacts,” said Kathryn Phillips, director of Sierra Club California. “Everything suggests we need a time out on this technology in California before it's too late. SB 1132 is a necessary and prudent step that the state should take to protect its citizens.”