Written by Jim Welte
The Marin County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday calling for a ban on fracking, the hydraulic fracturing process of blasting a mixture of water, sand and chemicals at dense shale rock to release the bubbles of oil or gas trapped within.
The resolution, put forward by Supervisors Kate Sears and Steve Kinsey, declares that fracking should be banned until its potential environmental impacts in the form of water and air pollution can be regulated.
"It's extraordinary that this process is not regulated in the state of California and has been going on in our state unregulated for many years – and we're now in the midst of an oil boom," Sears said in introducing the resolution.
"This is an incredibly challenging responsibility because we're having to put the genie back in the bottle," Kinsey added. "It's never easy to keep something bad from happening, and it's even more difficult to take something that is completely in the wrong direct from the climate change world we're living in and try to stop it."
Marin is the first county in California to explicitly call for a fracking moratorium. Cities such as Oakland, Culver City, Carson and Berkeley have passed similar resolutions.
The resolution states that the proposed ban should remain in effect "until state and federal legislation and regulations are put in place that repeal exceptions to the Safe Drinking Water Act, guarantee public health and safety, mitigate the effects on climate change, protect the environment, allow government access and testing of chemicals used, anticipate emerging extraction technologies and require full disclosure and testing of sites, with adequate time for public input."
The move was lauded by Greenbrae resident Ken Jones of 350Marin, a local chapter of an organization focused on efforts to reduce CO2 emission in the Bay Area.
"The unconventional extraction methods, like fracking, that Big Oil wants to experiment with in California will keep us from reaching the greenhouse gas emission reduction goals Governor Schwarzenegger set for our state in his climate bill in 2006,” Jones said in a statement.