On Friday November 1st the Independent Voter Project held the second in a series of policy forums at the University of California at Merced. The Summit on Fracking focused on recent legislation signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown that will regulate the controversial oil and gas extraction technique Hydraulic Fracturing more commonly referred to as “fracking”.
Hydraulic Fracturing is a technique used to extract oil and natural gas by injecting a mixture of chemicals and water into the ground to create small fractures, which allow the gas and oil to flow into the well. This practice has come under intense public scrutiny and attention after being featured in a number of movie and television documentaries.
In the California State Legislature Hydraulic Fracturing was the subject of more than a dozen pieces of legislation ranging from increased regulation to a moratorium of the practice in California. One of which, Senate Bill 4 authored by Senator Fran Pavley and Assemblymember Adam Gray was signed into law in September.
The forum included Congressman Jim Costa, members of the State Legislature, the director of the Department of Conservation, industry representatives, as well as representatives from a number of environmental organizations. The discussion included SB 4 and the pending regulatory process.
Senate Bill 4 was heavily criticized by the Sierra Club and other environmental organizations who favored the approach taken by bills that would provide a moratorium on the practice of hydraulic fracturing. Senate Bill 4 was also heavily criticized by the Western States Petroleum Association and other industry advocates who claimed the regulations in the bill would be costly and prohibitive.
The event was sponsored and organized by the Independent Voter Project and is part of a series of policy forums designed to feature perspectives from all sides of important controversial issues facing California and the Nation.