Sacramento to host California's final fracking workshop
California environmental officials will host a public meeting on hydraulic fracturing in Sacramento next week, capping a months-long series of workshops aimed at shaping regulations for the controversial method of oil extraction.
The meeting will take place at the headquarters of the California Environmental Protection Agency on July 25 from 7 to 9 p.m.
Environmentalists are planning a rally to step up pressure for a statewide moratorium on "fracking," which involves injecting chemical-laced water and sand deep into the ground to tap oil. Previous meetings in Culver City and Ventura attracted standing-room-only crowds, with residents and community activists raising concerns about potential environmental and public health hazards, including contaminated drinking water.
Representatives from the energy industry have said that hydraulic fracturing is safe and that oil companies have used the technology in California for decades without incident.
Much of the anxiety stems from the fact that, unlike other oil-producing states, California does not require oil companies to disclose where they use the procedure or what chemicals they inject into the ground.
Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) has introduced legislation that would make such disclosure mandatory; Assemblywoman Betsy Butler (D-Marina del Rey) is pushing a bill that would ban fracking in California until regulators write rules governing the procedure.
For their part, regulators have conceded the need to collect more information on hydraulic fracturing. They have pledged to begin drafting regulations later this year, using the input from the series of seven public workshops.
-- Michael J. Mishak in Sacramento
Photo: A fracking operation on leased farmland near Dimock, Pa. Credit: Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times