Fracking outlawed in Santa CruzMay 26, 2014
The county in California becomes the first in the state to prohibit hydraulic fracturing.
After Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors voted 5 – 0 to preemptively ban fracking in Santa Cruz, the county has become the first in California to outlaw the mining practice, as well as all other forms of onshore gas and oil development.
Mandatory water rationing was established last month in the county.
Although access to water and water sharing have been a continual struggle for the Golden State, In January of this year, a drought emergency was declared for all of California and, in April, residents of Santa Cruz were forced to begin rationing water. Supervisor Bruce McPherson has said that the outlawing of fracking may be seen as a “symbolic gesture”, but he believes it is more than that. “I think it’s a message that needs to be sent out and listened to, especially on our quality of life and particularly about the impact it might have on our water supply, whether it occurs inside this county or in adjacent counties,” he said.
Hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracturing, is a mining technique that involves blasting a mixture of water, sand and chemicals into fissures in rocks that are thousand of meters below the ground, for the purpose of releasing oils and gas deposits trapped within the rocks. The mining method involves the use of injection wells, which dispose of extremely contaminated wastewater. The wastewater is filled with dangerous and unnamed chemicals and toxins. This hazardous water has been connected to a great number of environmental and human health concerns.
Furthermore, a recent study discovered that some of the areas across the nation that face the biggest drought issues are those that use hydraulic fracturing, which makes water shortages worse. It was found that 96% of new hydrofracturing wells in California are located in regions where water shortages are high. Moreover, many scientists believe that fracking has lead to an increase in earthquake activity across the U.S.
Other Californian counties are also considering banning fracking.
According to Food and Water Watch, an organization committed to ensuring food, water and fish consumed is accessible, sustainable and safe, the counties Monterey, Butte, Santa Barbara, Mendocino, Orange, and San Benito are considering suspending or outlawing the practice.
Furthermore, many cities in the state have also prohibited fracking, including Beverly Hills, which recently became California’s first city to ban it. Meanwhile, Culver City and Los Angeles may soon do the same.