New poll shows Californians split on fracking
Californians are split on a controversial method of oil extraction called hydraulic fracturing, according to a new statewide poll.
A survey by the Public Policy Institute of California, released Wednesday, found that most residents have heard at least a little about the procedure, which is more commonly known as "fracking" and involves injecting chemical-laced water and sand deep into the ground to tap oil. Of those poll respondents familiar with the process, 42% said they support its use in the state while 46% said they oppose it.
The issue breaks along partisan and regional lines.
According to the poll, majorities of California Democrats (65%) and voters living in Los Angeles (56%) and the Bay Area (51%) said they oppose fracking. Majorities of Republicans (64%) and voters living in the Central Valley (51%) and other parts of Southern California (51%) said they support it. The PPIC survey found that independents were more likely to oppose fracking (49%) than support it (35%).
Forty-six percent of respondents said they have heard "nothing at all" about fracking.
Although oil companies have been using hydraulic fracturing for decades in California, Gov. Jerry Brown's administration has come under fire this year after revelations that the state has yet to develop rules governing the procedure.
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.
After months of public meetings, oil regulators are now beginning the process of drafting fracking rules.
-- Michael J. Mishak in Sacramento
Photo: A fracking operation on leased farmland near Dimock, Pa. Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times