Proposed Regulations for Fracking
We are seeking a moratorium/ban of fracking in Culver City and support increased regulation and moratorium on fracking in California.
California needs regulations to address fracking. The Department of Conservation (DOC) is in the process of gathering information to consider establishing regulation but according to DOGGR these won’t be made this year. A moratorium should be placed on all future frack jobs until regulations can be enacted and the hydraulic fracturing is demonstrated as safe. Over 140 communities in seven states have successfully enacted Community Rights ordinances over the past decade, some of which have been Anti-fracking.
Our state regulators and elected officials operate with industry favoritism above acting in the communities interest and has been unable to create regulations which reasonably address communities health and safety concerns with drilling. In this absence of higher representation it is up to our Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and Culver City’s elected officials to act in our communities interest. Fracking in the Baldwin Hills, the largest urban oilfield with over 3 million people surrounding it, requires more oversight than a solitary PXP study done on an inadequate model. Given the health and safety risks involved in this highly controversial form of oil production, we should follow the legal precedents of a other communities around the country and adopt “Community rights” ordinances that more stringently regulate or have placed a moratorium or ban on fracking until it is proven safe.
Precedents for Fracking Moratoriums and Bans
In 2010, the City Council of Pittsburgh PA voted unanimously (9-0) to ban fracking. “Drafted by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), Pittsburgh’s ordinance elevates the rights of people, the community, and nature over corporate “rights” and challenges the authority of the state to pre-empt community decision-making.” “With this vote we are asserting the right of the city to make critical decisions to protect our health, safety, and welfare. -Pittsburgh Councilman Doug Shields” Additional municipalities such as West Homestead PA, Wilkinsburg PA, Baldwin PA, Wales NY, Mountain Lake Park MD have passed such ordinances.
In February 2012 a New York state court ruled that towns have the right to ban drilling despite a state regulation asserting they cannot. The town of Dryden’s town board passed a zoning law that prohibited gas drilling within town limits and was sued by the oil drilling company claiming that the ban was illegal because state law trumped the municipal rules. Dryden argued that “it was not trying to regulate fracking but merely trying to protect its citizens and property.”
In 2011 Santa Barbara County Supervisors voted to change the zoning code. Oil companies have to apply for a separate permit if they want to frack, hold a public hearing, and produce a full environmental impact report.
On May 16th in Vermont, Gov. Peter Shumlin signed into law the nation’s first state-level ban on a hotly debated natural-gas-drilling technique that involves blasting chemical-laced water deep into the ground.
In a similar vein, a year ago France voted to ban fracking. According to the Business Insider the French Parliament voted 287-176 to ban hydraulic fracturing or fracking.
Locally, The ruling from Judge James Chalfant on PXP’s challenge to the Culver City Council’s unanimous decision to impose a temporary moratorium on new drilling supports our right to regulate it.
Regulations for fracking should allow and follow these four precepts:
- Allow community self-autonomy. County, municipalities and other governing structures should all have the ability to regulate all oil and gas above and below-ground operations in their area.
- Prove Do NO Harm (No Risk) and have inferred liability (similar to how FDA has a New Drug Approach) – “All drugs” have implied liability even when tested and certified by FDA. Similarly “All Frack Jobs” have implied liability to the community.
- Require informed consent by the surrounding community and those at Risk.
- Support the democratic process and an Informed Public. All information/elements on the table and hold town hall or like community meetings until all concerns/issues are resolved or satisfactorily addressed.
Proposed Culver City Fracking Regulations (6/10/2012)