SACRAMENTO, Calif. May 31, 2013 — Even as a new poll shows few Californians support fracking, state legislators have first weakened and then voted down a bill that would have placed a moratorium on the controversial method of oil and gas extraction. The California State Assembly voted Thursday afternoon to kill Assembly Bill 1323, introduced by Holly Mitchell (D-Culver City), which as initially drafted would have halted fracking and mandated a review of the risks it poses to the environment and public health.
"We applaud Assembly Members Richard Bloom, Holly Mitchell and Adrin Nazarian for fighting for a moratorium on fracking in the face of oil industry pressure to put profits ahead of public health," said Brian Nowicki of the Center for Biological Diversity. "Lawmakers haven't passed a fracking moratorium yet, but public opinion is on our side, and a growing number of courageous legislators are determined to fight fracking pollution."
Fracking uses huge volumes of water mixed with sand and dangerous chemicals to blast open rock formations and extract oil and gas. The controversial technique has been used in hundreds and perhaps thousands of California oil and gas wells, but it's currently unregulated and unmonitored by state officials. Oil companies are gearing up to use dangerous new techniques to frack massive deposits of oil in the Monterey Shale, a formation that stretches from Northern California to Los Angeles.
A new poll released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California found that fewer than half of Californians – just 39 percent – favor increased use of fracking. The same poll found that an overwhelming 70 percent of likely voters believe the state government is "pretty much run by a few big interests looking out for themselves" rather than for the benefit of all Californians.
"Californians' strong concern about fracking is striking given how new this issue is to the state," Nowicki said. "But unless Governor Brown and state legislators take action soon, fracking is going to ramp up dramatically. People in California understand that fracking pollution could dramatically change our state, causing irreparable damage to our air, water and public health."
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