Beverly Hills Becomes First In California
To Ban Fracking
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[May 07, 2014]
By Dana Feldman
BEVERLY HILLS, California (Reuters) - City
leaders in celebrity-filled Beverly Hills voted on Tuesday to ban
fracking, becoming the first municipality in California to prohibit the
controversial technique for extracting natural gas and oil from
underground rock deposits.
Environmentalists say chemicals used in the process pollute
underground water supplies and cause other damage.
The unanimous vote by the Beverly Hills city council gives final
approval to fracking ban, which was given the initial go-ahead by
the panel last month. Council members, five of whom voted in favor
of the ban, did not publicly discuss the measure on Tuesday. It will
take effect on June 6.
Beverly Hills is one of the nation's most affluent cities and is
home to numerous luxury retailers, but it is not untouched by the
oil industry. Oil drilling has for decades occurred at Beverly Hills
High School, but the city council in 2011 voted to bring that to an
end in 2016.
The move to ban fracking was undertaken in a similar spirit, city
spokeswoman Therese Kosterman said in a phone interview before the
"It's just the sense that industrial processes such as mining and
oil drilling really is not appropriate in Beverly Hills," Kosterman
No company had put forward any proposals to conduct fracking
operations in Beverly Hills, she said. But the technique is already
employed in nearby oil fields elsewhere in Los Angeles County.
The move by Beverly Hills officials follows last year's approval by
California lawmakers of the state's first regulations on fracking.
The law requires oil companies to obtain permits for fracking as
well as acidizing, the use of hydrofluoric acid and other chemicals
to dissolve shale rock.
Dave Quast, California director of energy in depth, a research and
education program of the California Independent Petroleum
Association, said in a statement that banning fracking threatens the
state's energy independence.
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"A greater reliance on expensive imported fuel sources would put
Southern California jobs at risk and could result in higher prices
at the pump," Quast said.
Don Drysdale, a spokesman for the California Department of
Conservation, said in an email that no other community in the state
has officially banned fracking.
Los Angeles officials are exploring a possible moratorium on
fracking. In other parts of the country, New York state has
instituted a moratorium on the technique, and Illinois last year
adopted a strict set of regulations on it.
(Additional reporting by Phil Furey in Beverly Hills, Writing by
Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Michael Perry)
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