By Dan Jacobson.
The Beverly Hills City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to pursue a ban on “fracking” citywide, making it illegal to use hydraulic fracturing, acidizing or any stimulation technique from any area in the City, as well as any method of oil extraction outside city limits that would extract oil and gas from underneath the City. Beverly Hills joins the cities of Los Angeles and Carson in the fight to stop fracking.
Vice Mayor Julian Gold said that fracking is not a “compatible land use underneath our homes, schools and businesses.”
“I do believe in local control, and we are exerting our power as a city to say fracking is not a compatible land use in Beverly Hills,” said Councilmember John Mirsch. “But this issue goes beyond that. This is not a ‘not in my backyard issue’—it should not be in anyone’s back yard. And we also need to think long-term, even if our city is not a center of drilling—injecting millions of gallons of water and chemicals at high pressure into the earth can’t be good. Asbestos and smoking was once also considered safe. Fracking is not worth the risk.”
Over the past decade, the oil and gas industry has integrated two technologies – hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling- in a highly polluting attempt to release oil and gas in underground rock formations across the United States. Fracking is already underway in 17 states in addition to California, with key impacts of fracking being the production of wastewater, water use, chemicals use, air pollution, land damage and global warming emissions. Two recent studies highlighted the dangers of fracking. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that previous EPA data on methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, had greatly underestimated the amount of methane released by well sites, with new data showing that methane released from wells was occurring at a rate 100 to 1000 times greater than previously estimated. Another study has found increasing evidence that fracking may be the cause of some earthquakes, a major cause of concern in California.
According to the Beverly Hills Courier the ordinance was passed unanimously by the Beverly Hills City Council and about 40 people attended the meeting to voice their support. The only opposition during the meeting came from the Director of Regional Affairs for the California Independent Petroleum Association.
“It will probably be one of my proudest votes,” said Mayor Lili Bosse.