Statement on hydraulic fracking and the Inglewood Oil Field

Hydraulic fracking continues to be a subject not only of local, but international concern.  I too am very concerned about this issue, and the potential environmental, economic and social impacts of hydraulic fracking, specifically as it relates to the communities that surround the Inglewood Oil Field.

It is important that interested stake holders are cognizant of the differences between hydraulic fracking in the mid-west and north east, and in California. While most of the controversy has revolved around hydraulic fracking for natural gas, in California the geology only allows for fracking for oil. In addition, the majority of the states are only now adopting regulations on well integrity that California has relied on for years.

Nonetheless, we don’t have a complete understanding of the potential risks and appropriate regulations, and it’s important that the State of California, which has authority over this activity, act nimbly and thoroughly to develop regulations over this practice.

Over the past few years, I have advocated for a variety of strategies to address this concern.

Study of Environmental Impacts
After residents and community groups sued PXP and the County of Los Angeles in November 2008 over concerns generated by drilling at the Inglewood Oil Field, we required PXP to conduct a study to assess the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracking at the oil field. Also, the County has hired a independent consultant to peer review the study.

Support for Transparency in the Hydraulic Fracking Process
In May 2011, at my request, the Board of Supervisors unanimously supported statewide legislation that would require disclosure of the types of chemicals injected underground during oil and gas extraction.

Support for Department of Conservation’s Efforts to Develop Regulations
Given that the State’s Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources is the governmental entity responsible for regulating activities that take place underground, including hydraulic fracking, I have urged the Governor to take a leadership role in developing regulations.

Support for Moratorium on Hydraulic Fracking
Last week, Assemblywoman Betsy Butler authored statewide legislation to implement a moratorium on hydraulic fracking until the Department of Conservation’s regulations are put in place.

I fully  support this legislation. While the local study that is being prepared will provide valuable information about the environmental, safety and health risks potentially posed by hydraulic fracking in the Inglewood Oil Field, the findings of the study will not universally be applicable for oil production fields in the rest of the state.  Accordingly, I strongly urge the Department of Conservation to be comprehensive and deliberative in its study, research, and regulatory proceedings relative to this critical topic.

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