Yesterday, SB1132, a bill introduced by Senators Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) to the California Legislature, advanced out of the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee. The bill, which calls for a moratorium on fracking and other types of unconventional well stimulation until the full effects of these techniques are studied, passed with strong support on a 5-2 vote, with 2 abstentions.
SB1132 would impose a moratorium on fracking, acidizing, and other harmful well stimulation activities until they can be proven to be benign, providing a safeguard to people and the natural environment. Although an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is already mandated by SB4, which will look into the environmental and public health effects of well stimulation, SB1132 goes further. It expands the scope of the current EIR to include economic impacts, effects on private property and land use, as well as the risks to workers laboring in state’s oil fields.
A broad coalition of environmental, labor, public health, and business groups have supported the bill, while thousands more rallied in Sacramento for its passage. A growing body of research has linked fracking to increased air pollution, water contamination, negative effects on public health, and induced seismicity. Additional research has shown that continued use of natural gas from fracking will further exacerbate the effects of climate change.
Jennifer Krill, Executive Director for Earthworks said: “Communities across the country have learned the hard way that fracking threatens their water and health. But Governor Brown refuses to learn from others' experience. Instead he takes a “see no evil” approach to fracking. That's why we must protect Californians from fracking with a moratorium.”
We commend Senators Mitchell and Leno for introducing the bill, and thank all those who voted for it. We call on all legislators to support SB1132. Let’s put people ahead of the industry’s profits.
The Senate Environmental Quality Committee will next consider the bill on April 30, 2014. We urge all Californians to call, write, and visit their legislative representatives and urge support for this bill. Take action now!