A pair of Los Angeles council members said today they will ask their colleagues to impose a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, a process that uses a pressurized water mixture to release oil or natural gas from deep underground.
Council members Paul Koretz and Mike Bonin plan to introduce a motion Wednesday calling for a halt to the practice, particularly along Los Angeles' water supply routes.
Prior to the council meeting, Koretz and Bonin will hold a news conference with representatives of Food and Water Watch, Physicians for Social Responsibility and other groups to discuss the proposed ban and call on the governor to impose a statewide moratorium on the practice.
Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," is a process of injecting a water and chemical mixture into rock formations at high pressures, creating cracks to release natural gas or oil. Critics of fracking link the activity to property damage, air and water pollution and an increased risk for earthquakes.
Several companies use fracking and another process called acidization, which employs corrosive acids to dissolve rock formations around oil deposits in and around Los Angeles communities, city officials said.
Councilman Bernard Parks, whose district includes the Baldwin Hills Oil Field and is near oil fields in Culver City, has also pushed for stronger language in a bill by Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, that would control the as-yet-unregulated fracking activity in California.
The council today unanimously approved a Parks resolution that backs an amended version of the bill with language requiring that chemicals used in the process -- such as formaldehyde, acetic acids, citric acids and boric acids -- be disclosed even in cases when the mixture is subject to "trade secret" protections.
The proposed language would also require a scientific study be conducted to determine fracking's seismic impacts, environmental impact reviews on proposed fracking activity, full disclosure of community and employee health concerns and a public input process for issuing permits to oil and natural gas companies.