SACRAMENTO -- A bill that would place a moratorium on the use of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in oil drilling in California was approved by a state Senate panel on Tuesday.
The measure was passed by a bare majority of five votes by the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee after some Democrats abstained and Chairwoman Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) provided a courtesy vote to keep the issue alive for more discussions that could end up changing the bill.
Fracking involves pumping water and chemicals under high pressure into the ground to free up oil trapped in rock formations. Pavley is the author of a bill approved last year that requires disclosure of the location and chemicals used in fracking operations and requires a study of the effects of fracking.
Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) withheld his vote Tuesday, saying he wanted to allow Pavley’s bill a chance to work before considering stronger measures such as the moratorium proposed by Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles).