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—From Grant Marcus

DFClogoclear-v2The County of Los Angeles just banned fracking until it is proven it is safe for the drinking water.  It seems to me that if it is possible in LA, it should be possible to have a moratorium for Ventura County as well. http://cityclerk.lacity.org/lacityclerkconnect/index.cfm?fa=ccfi.viewrecord&cfnumber=13-1152-S1

What helped assure the measure was passed was the involvement of four agencies, that could make presentations before our own Board of Supervisors.  They did excellent work in convincing the LA City council.  They are:

1)The California Dept. of Conservation;

2)The Air Quality Management District;

3)The California Environmental Protection Administration;

4)The LA Regional Quality Control Board (I am sure we  have such a board in Ventura as well).

The more I have delved into the neo-fracking process, the more concerned I am.

1) Because fracking technology goes deeper into the earth’s surface, there is increased room for error in sealing the wells.  6% now fail immediately, and over 50% fail over a 30 year period.  As I understand the process, there is only a thin 10″ layer of cement protecting the well from the water table.  This system of sealing seems very fragile in our earthquake-prone California where the ground is always shifting;

2) In relation to the fracking and sealing process, new studies, particularly out of Pennsylvania indicate that fracking causes earth-shifting and earthquakes.  In an already fault-riddled area, fracking seems a risky process that literally and figuratively defeats itself, especially with deeper drilling, and the use of new unknown chemicals that could leach into the water table, etc.

3) I am worried about the common-place failures of drilling. According to the water management director in Santa Barbara, because of the new “exceptioned” or unknown chemicals, one leaked well could contaminate the entire Santa Barbara reservoir (implying it has happened already) and cancers could be the result.  Having been through head and neck cancer, maximum dose radiation and chemo, I wouldn’t want to wish that on any family in Ventura county;  some of these chemicals have been found to include: benzine, tuolemine, and kerosene, all known carcinogens.

4) There are also new environmental concerns which abound around fracking:  because of well failures, and the release of methane gas, 100 times more powerful a carbon emitter than from other energy sources, we could be instigating more rapid periods of climate change with this technology.  And, there are new findings that shale contains large quantities of radon.  When the shale is pulverized, particulates of radon can also be released as contaminants to our drinking water.  As an anti-nuclear activist, who once debated nuclear engineers on television and radio, I know that these radioactive emitters cause many types of cancers that include thyroid, lung, brain, bone, and genital cancers to name a few.

5) My other concern is Halliburton, or who I have called, H(e)lliburton.  The company is now in Ventura County, with an office over at Port Hueneme.  They have been active with Veneco, sealing their wells.  Halliburton has a despicable track record, being semi-responsible for the Gulf Oil Spill, as well as the spill in the Mideast, and its most recent spill off the coast of Brazil. Halliburton Corporation with its subsidiary, KBR has had such a poor track record in so many areas, including military food, oil and constructions projects, that there has been books written about the company, condemning it.  Halliburton’s track record should be taken into consideration when we look at the success or failures of these fracking projects in our local area.

And, if it should come down to it, their charter could be challenged and rescinded by our county supervisors. The more I investigate, the worse fracking gets.  I know this won’t be bizz-popular to say, but before we frack ourselves to death, we should have a moratorium on fracking, to know the chemicals which are currently being used (I hear there are upwards of 150 of them) and to better study fracking’s success rate, and the overall risks we will be taking with our water supply.  As an RN, I know too that our bodies are 80% water.  If the water we consume is contaminated, we will be contaminated.  And so will our families, our children, and future generations.  After all, it does seem reasonable to consider safety and consequences before we break the dam.

In relation to a moratorium, our own local governments can have power over both the State and Federal government through a process called, “Home Rule.”  61 counties in New York have put a moratorium on fracking by using city and county zoning ordinances that take precedent over both State and Federal law. This is certainly an option to California cities and counties, including Ventura County.

I urge you to google, “Michael jay, attorney, fracking,  home rule, new york” to download a sample of the zoning ordinances used.
Articles: http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/186305/appellate-division-says-localities-can-ban-fracking/

http://truth-out.org/news/item/16252-new-yorks-zoning-ban-movement-fracks-big-gas

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“In response to the news that the Third Appellate Division unanimously upheld the right of local governments to “enact a local zoning ordinance banning all activities related to the exploration for, and the production or storage of, natural gas and petroleum within its borders,” New Yorkers Against Fracking issued the following statement from a founding member of Middlefield Neighbors. Middlefield Neighbors organized around the Middlefield ban which was the subject of one of the two court cases today.

“Towns across the state are banning fracking because their residents do not want to drink poisoned water or breathe toxic air. The real solution to this problem is for the state to ban fracking, but until that happens, local governments have a responsibility to protect their citizens from the oil and gas industry. This decision shows that our democracy in NYS still works and in this David and Goliath battle – we can win,” said Kelly Branigan, a founding member of Middlefield Neighbors and a member of New Yorkers Against Fracking.” — FROM http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/186305/appellate-division-says-localities-can-ban-fracking/

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I urge you too, to see “Gasland II on HBO, a Josh Fox production.  And there are Groups that can provide you with an environmental point of view, while keeping you updated with information on fracking.  They are: Californians Against Fracking and Food and Water Watch.org.  If you google “kpfk.org, connecting the dots,” there will be several programs on fracking for you to listen to.  SOCAL, on PBS also did an excellent program on California Fracking, focusing on Los angeles.  And there was an excellent article by Natalie Cherot in the VC Reporter on fracking.

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