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C&E-1.2

Hydraulic Fracking Onshore

  • Goal: Moratorium on fracking unless and until it can be proven safe
  • Year Started: 2011
  • Clients: Sierra Club, Get Oil Out!, Santa Barbara County Action Network, Carpinteria

Hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking) has become a very controversial well stimulation technique all across the country. While much of the nation is facing an onslaught of fracking for natural gas, here on the south central coast, the practice has been primarily used to stimulate oil production.

Fracking involves the use of sand, water, and an undisclosed cocktail of chemicals injected down a wellbore at high pressure to fracture the rock formation and release the oil. This technology has been linked with numerous environmental and public health concerns as well as seismic activity and groundwater contamination in other areas. The practice is relatively common in Ventura County and has been utilized in both Santa Barbara County and from oil platforms off our coast. In 2011, after Venoco was discovered to have fracked on private land in northern Santa Barbara County, EDC worked with the landowner and the County to help implement a more stringent regulatory process for fracking. While this process does not prohibit fracking, the practice has yet to be proven financially viable in our region and no new applications have been submitted. In Ventura County, we similarly convinced the Board of Supervisors to require more transparency regarding fracking projects, but we still need to make sure the County applies such requirements effectively.

EDC will continue to be a watchdog as new onshore oil development projects are proposed throughout the tri-county area and advocate for strong environmental and public health protections.

fracking on shore

Image from EPA Hydraulic Fracturing Study Plan.

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