The Alameda County Planning Commission has scheduled a special meeting to review an ordinance banning fracking and other extreme oil-recovery methods in Alameda County. Join us at the special hearing and vote on Monday, May 23rd, at 6 pm in Hayward. Wear blue! More details below. RSVP here.
With close to 80 supporters at the hearing on May 2nd — many directly addressing the members of the Planning Commission with heartfelt messages — Alameda County Against Fracking (ACAF) once again delivered the message that fracking and other extreme oil-recovery methods should be banned from the County. And the message was received. Three members of the Planning Commission voted in favor of the draft ordinance. But we needed a fourth vote, which was not forthcoming. So we appreciate and thank Commissioners Ratto, Rhodes, and Kastriotis for their votes. And we look forward to convincing Commissioner Goff to approve the ordinance at the May 23rd meeting.
The May 2nd meeting was essentially a continuance of the Planning Commission meeting on April 4th. ACAF was satisfied with the draft heading into the April 4th meeting: it was comprehensive, addressing both well stimulation and enhanced recovery. It was modeled in part on the San Benito county ordinance. Voter-approved by a substantial margin, San Benito’s ordinance is a model for community-sponsored protection against extreme oil recovery methods.
But a day before the April 4th meeting, the current sole oil producer in the county, E&B Natural Resources, proposed several revisions to the draft. The commissioners put off further consideration until the May 2nd meeting, giving both ACAF and the County planners time to review this 11th-hour input.
Heading into the May 2nd meeting, ACAF had reviewed three versions of the ordinance prepared by County planning staff. Version A was the original version from April; Version B dropped the ban on enhanced recovery methods, including waterflooding and steam injection; and Version C retained a ban on enhanced recovery methods but created an exception for waterflooding, albeit with a restriction to limit the water used to only produced water — no imported water from other sources.
ACAF and its supporters spoke strongly in favor of Version A. Ultimately, it was this draft, slightly modified to enable E&B to continue its current practices for disposing of produced water and maintaining its wells, that garnered the votes of three commissioners.
But this was not the last word. Knowing how important the issue is to County residents, the Planning Commission scheduled a special meeting for May 23, where this ordinance is to be the only item on the agenda. We are hopeful that one or both of the commissioners not at the May 2 meeting — Hal Gin and Jeffrey Moore — will be able to attend and vote for a strong ordinance.
WHAT: Special Planning Commission hearing and vote on the Alameda County fracking ban
WHEN: Monday, May 23rd, 6 pm
WHERE: Alameda County Buildings, Public Hearing Room, 224 W. Winton Avenue, Hayward