LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Two Los Angeles City Council members introduced a motion Wednesday calling for a moratorium on a controversial natural gas extraction process.
KNX 1070’s Vytas Safronikas reports City Councilmembers Paul Koretz and Mike Bonin pleaded with their colleagues to consider the potential impact hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, could have on their communities.
Bonin and other critics of fracking – which entails injecting a water and chemical mixture into rock formations at high pressures, creating cracks to release natural gas or oil – allege the practice has links to property damage, air and water pollution and an increased risk of earthquakes.
“Who in the world would think it would be a good idea to pump an unknown combination of potentially toxic chemicals right near our drinking water,” Bonin said. “Who in the world would think that made sense?”
The controversial technique, which is currently unregulated and unmonitored by California officials, has been tied to air and water pollution. Opponents say it also threatens the climate by emitting large amounts of methane.
The motion, which was referred to the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee, asks the city attorney and planning officials to craft an ordinance that uses land use and zoning laws to ban “all activity associated with well stimulation, including, but not limited to, hydraulic fracturing, gravel packing, and acidizing, or any combination thereof, and the use of waste disposal injection wells” in the city.
The proposed moratorium would apply to fracking within the city and along L.A.’s water supply route, as well as related activities, including acidizing, drilling and wastewater disposal.
Oil companies have already begun fracking in the Los Angeles region, most notably in the Inglewood Oil Field, the largest urban oil field in the country, located between the Baldwin Hills and Culver City.
David Quast with the California Independent Petroleum Association says the process is safe and has created thousands of jobs.
“And as far as the water contamination goes, there has also never been a case of water contamination that was directly linked to the process of fracking,” he told KCAL9’s Bobby Kaple.
(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)