San Francisco Area Bans Fracking, Even Though It Doesn’t Actually Frack

Andrew Follett | Energy and Science Reporter

Alameda County California, near San Francisco, voted Tuesday to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, even though the area doesn’t actually frack.

Alameda County has only one active oil field, and no one fracks there to extract oil. Five different California counties also banned fracking, but none of them produce much oil.

California’s Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown opposes a statewide moratorium or ban on fracking, meanwhile, environmentalists are attempting to ban fracking on a county-by-county basis. This strategy has been entirely unsuccessful in other states, as the oil and gas industry has historically been regulated by the state, not local, government.

Courts have universally found that the state governments have the legal authority to grant fracking permits over the objections of local governments. Colorado’s Supreme Court struck down local fracking bans in early May, a federal judge did the same thing in West Virginia in mid-June as did a Louisiana’s Supreme Court. Courts universally find state governments have the legal authority to grant fracking permits over the objections of local governments.

Several environmental groups, including Food and Water Watch, The Sierra Club, and Earthworks all support local bans on fracking. Each of these green groups justify their support by claiming that fracking could contaminate drinking water. However, fracking has been repeatedly proven to not contaminate drinking water by regulatory bodies, academics and even the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Environmental groups have responded to these studies with total denial.

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