At last! Word is that the revised draft ordinance to ban fracking and other extreme methods of oil extraction in Alameda County will come before the Planning Commission on April 4th.
This ordinance is our chance to reinforce the message that fracking should be banned in California, county by county by necessity (Thank you, Governor Brown). San Benito led the way. We look for Alameda to follow. And the fight will continue, with a big effort that gets underway on March 19 to get enough signatures to place an anti-fracking measure on Monterey County’s November ballot.
The need for tighter regulations was underlined by the discovery last year of a leak from an oil storage tank in Livermore at an E&B Natural Resources site. E&B failed to promptly report the leak to government agencies or to the surface property owner whose land surrounds the site. Monitoring wells to detect any possible contamination to the groundwater have been drilled. The company has paid a nominal fine, without acknowledging that it committed any violation. According to an NBC Investigative Unit report, E&B has experienced multiple spills at its sites in California.
Given the hazards associated with the transport, storage, use, and disposal of fracking chemicals, should E&B, or any other oil producer, be entrusted with being mindful of the land, water, and air of the Tri-Valley? Say “no” at the Planning Commission meeting.
There are two immediate ways you can become involved:
First, voice your support for the ordinance by emailing the Board of Supervisors at CBS@acgov.org. You can send a letter via regular mail to:
1221 Oak Street, Suite 536
Oakland, CA 94612.
You can use the sample letter language below.
Second, turn out for the Planning Commission meeting on April 4th to let the Commissioners know of the broad support for making sure that fracking and other extreme recovery methods never blight the landscape of Alameda County. Their recommendation to the Board of Supervisors will be critical to passage of the ordinance.
What: Planning Commission meeting on anti-fracking ordinance
When: Monday, April 4, 6:00 PM
Location: Alameda County Buildings, Public Hearing Room, 224 W. Winton Avenue, Hayward
If you want to energize yourself before the April 4th meeting, join us for a screening of ‘Dear Governor Brown,’ a film that exposes the governor’s oily record, challenges the climate legacy he’s so desperate to create, and pressures him to stop fracking and other extreme oil-extraction methods. The screening will be hosted by the Center for Biological Diversity:
What: Showing of ‘Dear Governor Brown’
Date: Thursday, March 31
Time: Refreshments at 6 pm, film at 6:30 pm
Location: Center for Biological Diversity, 1212 Broadway, Suite 800, Oakland
Sample letter language:
I’m writing to urge you to approve the proposed ordinance to prohibit hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and other extreme methods of oil recovery in Alameda County. While fracking isn’t currently utilized at existing wells in the East County, nothing prevents its introduction at any time. This ordinance has been crafted to promote the health and safety of County residents, especially those in the Tri-Valley, while respecting the rights of existing oil operators.Fracking is inherently a hazardous activity. Last year, the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) reviewed the literature and assessed the hazards associated with the use of chemicals to stimulate oil production. It uncovered a number of areas of concern, including:
- There are few controls on the chemicals used in fracking or an understanding of their effect on the environment.
- Chemicals are used without any measurement or documentation of their toxicity on aquatic life and mammals.
- The disposal of large amounts of wastewater from fracking causes an increase in seismic activity.Alameda County has a rapidly expanding population — the fastest growing in the state. And the Tri-Valley has a thriving agricultural sector — worth more $46 million in 2014. Its residents should not be at the receiving end of unknown, unsafe chemicals. They should not be subject to the risks of increased earthquake activity.The ordinance also protects against the potential contamination of groundwater by banning percolation pits from ALL oil operations in the County. These pits are the most common method of disposal of wastewater in the state, and have been found to have contaminated groundwater in the Central Valley.The drought has reduced the allocation of water from the State Water Project to the Zone 7 Water Agency. This forces greater reliance on the Tri-Valley’s groundwater. Fracking, and the disposal of contaminated wastewater, would imperil this precious resource. Once groundwater is contaminated, it is difficult, if not impossible, to clean up.For all of these reasons, please support adoption of this ordinance.Thank you for your consideration.