SLO City Council Advocates for County Fracking Ban

City Council Meeting January 7, 2014

 Press Release

January 8, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Jeanne Blackwell, jeannewater@gmail.com

SLO City Council Advocates for County Fracking Ban

At its January 7 meeting, the San Luis Obispo City Council voted to include a provision in its 2014 legislative platform urging the County to prohibit hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for oil and gas in the unincorporated areas of the county.

“We can’t thank the city council enough for realizing there’s no escaping the impacts of fracking outside city limits and taking leadership on this issue,” said SLO Clean Water Action organizer Jeanne Blackwell, who led the effort to urge the City to take a position on fracking and testified at the Jan. 7 meeting. “We hope the County gets the message as soon as possible and puts a prohibition in place to protect our water and our quality of life.”

Fracking has been at the center of controversy over environmental, seismic and public health impacts nationwide as the practice has exploded over large shale formations in recent years. Oil and gas is extracted via a largely unregulated process that injects millions of gallons of water and chemicals under pressure into fissures to extract oil or gas. Once contaminated by the process, water cannot be treated or reused. Oil and gas companies are not required to disclose the chemicals they use.

“Right now, if the County wants to protect its natural resources and its citizens, there is no alternative to a ban on fracking,” said Andrew Christie, Director of the Santa Lucia Chapter of the Sierra Club. “At the federal level, the ‘Halliburton loophole’ exempts frackers from the Safe Drinking Water Act, and California’s draft fracking regulations read like they were written by oil industry lobbyists. When the regulatory structure fails at the state and federal level, it’s up to local communities to take action.”

The Monterey shale formation underlying a large portion of California is considered to be a major target for future on and offshore fracking operations. On the same day that the San Luis Obispo City Council took its stand, nine state legislators sent a letter to Governor Jerry Brown urging him to “impose a moratorium on fracking while you fully investigate the science behind fracking for oil production.”

Last September, the City of Los Angeles and Santa Cruz County passed moratoriums on fracking.

Carlyn Christianson, Council Member, did also express that she has  been studying the impact of Hydraulic Fracturing on communities for some time and could answer questions about how important a countrywide ban is to protecting and safeguarding  the environmental well being of cities and municipalities within the county.

You could contact Carlyn for comment:
Carlyn Christianson Council Member
(805) 550-9320
cchristi@slocity.org

Wrap up by point person Kevin McCarthy, Thank you Kevin.
Dear Folks,
     There were about 8 speakers this evening at the SLO City Council meeting.  Thank you for your e-mails to the council.  The council was unanimous in there consensus against fracking and many of them were quite knowledgeable about the process.  Moreover, they voiced their appreciation for the many e-mails and calls that they had received, in addition to the people coming to the meeting, that expressed the increasing concern about the issue.  In the end, they adopted the more stringent wording in their recommendation to the SLO County Board of Supervisors that there should be a county-wide ban on hydraulic fracturing, i.e., they will recommend that the board of supervisors “adopt regulations to prohibit hydraulic fracturing in the county of San Luis Obispo.”  They also acknowledged that the real struggle will be at the supervisors level and moreover at the state level, but it is certainly affirming to have a local legislative body take this action. It proves that there is increasing awareness and concern about the issue.  Our thanks to Jeanne Blackwell of SLO Cleanwater Action for leading this charge and, of course, to the Council, and to you for encouraging the Council.  Please send a follow up e-mail to the SLO City Council in thanks for this support.
     I will be sending you a letter later in the week regarding our group and our current group status.
All my best,
Kevin

Just to help staff with construct of a letter I submitted the following letter for consideration to the SLO City Council for the Board of Supervisors

Dear County Board of Supervisors,

As San Luis Obispo already has an ordinance prohibiting oil drilling within city limits and whereas these protections will be infringed upon by activities in the unincorporated areas as a result of our shared resources, water, air, roadways, fault lines, The San Luis Obispo City Council on behalf of the residents, visitors and parties of interest evidenced by a petition of over a 1000 signatures are compelled to call on the County Board of Supervisors to adopt a countywide prohibition on Fracking.

Respectfully yours,

San Luis Obispo City Council

And lastly, Here is what needs to happen next.

Inline image 2

SLO City Council members voted unanimously 5-0  in favor of the  B1 issue to write a letter on behalf of the citizens of SLO calling on the Board of Supervisors to adopt a countywide BAN on Fracking. 8 people got up to speak and it was straight from the heart. Very powerful stuff.

What is so exciting and wonderful about this is the Council trail blazed the way for every city, municipality in the county,  in the State, to do the same thing.  When an entire council agrees to use their voice on behalf of their citizens and let the Board of Supervisors know about it, that’s a big Deal and doesn’t happen every day. This may be a first.

Now two things have to happen next. 1. Please let the Council know how much we appreciate their bold action, so refreshing  and  2. Who is the next city to present this to their City Council? AG? Morro? Paso? Los Osos?

You don’t have to be an expert anything to do this.  Concerned person is all the credentials you need to get started. Expert is what you are when the job is done.

If you like we could set up a meeting to get you started.  This took us about 2 months, give or take a year or two of prep work. The good news is the foundation is laid and we are ready to start building, city by city.   Contact me with the city you want to do and we will set up a meeting with all the people from your area and we will get this done.
SLO people there is no resting on our laurels. We have 4 working petitions that are also going to the Board of Supervisors along with the letters from the cities.
We need signatures on STUDENTS AGAINST FRACKING (we have 40,000 students in this county), FARMERS AGAINST FRACKING (we are an ag community that needs clean frack free water to grow our food)  CHEFS AGAINST FRACKING (how many restaurants, hotels, wineries, breweries, need fresh clean water to stay in business? All of them!) And BAN FRACKING IN SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY.
You can sign online and share it all over the place or contact me for hard copies to take to your next soiree, Farmers Market, etc.  Nancy M. got 60 signatures from Farmers in Los Osos on Monday. Way to go Nancy.   Click on links below to sign and then share.
SLO Clean Water Action. org  has posted all the videos of the council meetings.  You can watch and listen to get ideas on your 3 minute public comment. If you can’t do the city council thing then sign the petitions and commit to getting at least 10 other people to sign. We are all in this together folks .  If everybody does something so nobody has to do everything.  It’s our water, our air, our land, our oil and unless we stake claim to it right now the frackers are going to get it by default.This is a great start to a New Year and I already know exactly how I want it to end. Same way. Celebrating. Only difference, we will be celebrating as the first frack free county in the State with a Community Bill of Rights and Water Protection ordinance on the books and in full working order.

From the bottom of my pea picking heart thank you signers, attendees, speakers, press release writer, point persons, and SLO City Council.  Big HUG and pass it on.

Jeanne

P.S. I apologize for the very rough formatting above. I couldn’t get it to format paragraphs. Sorry.

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