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Survey of Californians finds concern about fracking

August 21, 2013|By Marc Lifsher
  • A survey commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council shows that Californians are concerned about the effect of hydraulic fracturing to recover oil and gas. Above, a pumpjack in Inglewood.
A survey commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council shows that… (Patrick T. Fallon / Bloomberg )

SACRAMENTO -- Three out of four surveyed people in five key legislative districts say they're concerned about California's lack of regulation of hydraulic fracturing, a controversial method for extracting oil and natural gas.

Polling data released by the Natural Resources Defense Council worry that the injection of sand and chemicals into shale formations deep underground -- known as "fracking" -- could threaten subterranean water supplies.

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California is believed to have large resources of oil and natural gas in the so-called Monterey Shale Formation under the San Joaquin Valley that could be exploited through fracking.

"Californians are paying attention to the impact that fracking is already having on communities around the country and don't want to see a repeat in their own backyards," said Victoria Rome, the California legislative director for the National Resources Defense Council. 

The findings come as the state Legislature is in the final stage of considering a bill that, among other things, would require oil companies to obtain permits and provide nearby residents with notifications of procedures to be used at drilling sites. The measure, SB 4, by state Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills), has passed the Senate and is before the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Wednesday.

The bill, the only one of about a dozen fracking proposals introduced at the beginning of the year to survive, still is being heavily negotiated by Pavley with environmentalists, oil companies, business groups and the office of Gov. Jerry Brown ahead of the Sept. 13 legislative recess.

The Brown administration is expected to issue a set of proposed fracking regulations sometime in the late summer or early fall.

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