A large portion of Monday night’s City Council meeting was devoted to the aftermath of last . Barely six days after the hearing, a concerned group of local Culver City residents who had banded together under the banner “an ad-hoc group of concerned citizens,” had already renamed themselves “Frack-Free Culver City.”
In a non-agendized item, Vice Mayor Jeff Cooper put forward a proposal that the Council follow the lead of the L.A. City Council to pass a resolution opposing hydraulic fracturing in Culver City and demand that the State of California place a moratorium on the practice, citing the following reasons:
- The oil and gas industry has been granted exceptions to multiple laws and regulations, including the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act
- Fracking wastewater may often be laced with hundreds of toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and naturally occurring radioactive materials all of which make the disposal of fracking wastewater a significant challenge
- That wastewater has the potential to pollute the sources of our water supply
- Fracking also causes the release of such hazardous air pollutants as methanol, formaldehyde, and carbon disulfide and more
- Fracking and the associated injection wells are thought to cause earthquakes – a dangerous prospect in Southern California
Cooper said he’d like Culver City’s resolution to “express its support for Governor Jerry Brown, for the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors, and for the State of California’s Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources to move swiftly to place a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing and on the disposal of fracking wastewater by injection wells until a determination can be made that such processes are safe for public health, for our water supply and for the environment.”
City Clerk Martin Cole said the resolution would be brought before the City Council on July 2, which was greeted with great enthusiasm by many of the attendees at Monday night’s meeting during public comment.
Tom Camarella said while asking for a moratorium was a great step forward, Culver City should go one step further and call for a complete ban on fracking. Citing the L.A. City Council’s 17 “whereas” statements in its resolution , Camarella said those 17 “whereas’s” should be enough for the Culver City Council to think about introducing a ban and an ordinance on that ban.
Cooper said he would be open to discussing a ban, however, “My only concern is for the City and the liability it could potentially expose us to,” he said, regarding exactly how much land jurisdiction Culver City has and what legal rights it had to implement a ban.
Neurologist Khin Khin Gyi said during public comment that the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund helped drafted municipal codes for 140 communities in the north east of the country to ban fracking and to date only three of those had faced legal opposition.
Mayor Andy Weissman noted that the July 2 meeting would allow for the council to discuss a variety of ideas on how to address fracking.
Meanwhile, the anti-fracking movement appears to be gaining traction, as 53rd Assembly Member Betsy Butler (D-Los Angeles) introduced a bill (AB 972) Monday to place a moratorium on the practice in the State of California until it can be regulated.
“Fracking has been called ‘inherently dangerous’ according to the oil and gas industry,” Butler said in a written statement. “The fact that oil companies have reservations about the safety of fracking speaks volumes as to why California needs a moratorium until we can regulate.”