A state lawmaker has proposed legislation that would ban the use of hydraulic fracturing in California until regulators write rules governing the controversial procedure.
The measure, introduced by Assemblywoman Betsy Butler (D-Marina del Rey), would bar oil regulators from approving new drilling permits for wells where firms employ “fracking” to tap oil deposits.
The bill comes as the California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources travels the state soliciting public comment on hydraulic fracturing, the first step in what is expected to be a lengthy rule-making process.
Environmentalists and community activists have raised concerns about the potential environmental and public health hazards of a procedure that involves injecting chemical-laced water and sand deep into the ground to tap oil. The oil industry counters that firms have used fracking for decades without incident throughout California.