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Fracking bills flop after gusher of opposition cash, report says

June 14, 2013|By Patrick McGreevy

Campaign contributions from the oil industry flooded into the California Legislature before it killed several bills that would have closely regulated the use of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to get oil and gas from the ground, a nonprofit group reports.

In the two years ending Dec. 31, 2012, oil companies Chevron, British Petroleum, ExxonMobil and Valero Energy contributed $464,450 to state legislators, according to MapLight, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization.

Of 12 bills on fracking, 10 stalled or were voted down by the deadline last month, including one, AB 1323, that would have imposed a moratorium.

Interest groups opposing AB 1323 contributed 7.1 times as much money as groups supporting it, MapLight concluded, using data from the National Institute of Money in State Politics.

State lawmakers voting against the bill received, on average, 31 times as much money from opposing groups as supporting groups, MapLight found.

It also said lawmakers who didn't vote at all received five times as much money from opposing groups as from supporting groups. All of those who withheld their votes are Democrats.

The issue is not dead for the year.

One of the bills still pending, SB 4 by Sen Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills), would require public notice and groundwater testing on fracking projects, but Pavley has agreed to remove from the bill a requirement for a moratorium if a study of the practice is not completed by 2015.


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