The Mar Vista Community Council's board of directors voted unanimously Tuesday night in favor of a policy supporting an immediate statewide ban on "fracking" due to concerns over air and water pollution and earthquakes.
The board voted 9-0 with one abstention in favor of sending a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the Los Angeles City Council urging an immediate ban on fracking in California in order to protect public health and the environment.
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a drilling process in which pressurized water mixed with sand and chemicals is injected underground to cause shale rock formations to fracture and release oil or natural gas for extraction.
"From the Sacramento Valley to Los Angeles County, the oil and gas industry has only just begun to frack California. Next generation fracking is now here, and will affect the Mar Vista community," the letter said.
The latest fracking technology goes beyond the traditional fracking in the state that was done to "rework" wells to wring out more production and now results in "millions of gallons of toxic wastewater and thousands of tons of solid waste for each new well," the letter said.
The letter said that Plains Exploration and Production Company (PXP) already has fracked two wells at the Inglewood Oil Field in Los Angeles, which is bordered by Culver City to the west.
The Culver City Council on July 2 voted 5-0 in favor of a statewide ban on fracking. The issue is particularly sensitive in Culver City where 10 percent of PXP's Inglewood Oil Field lies within city boundaries. The rest of the oil field is adjacent to Culver City in Baldwin Hills. The Inglewood Oil Field is the largest urban oil field in the United States and is surrounded by about 300,000 people.
Mar Vista's letter said that PXP plans to continue fracking outside the borders of the oil field and under homes in Culver City and that fracking threatens to contaminate local groundwater and Ballona Creek.
Many of the wells that have been targeted for fracking are in the Sacramento River watershed and the San Francisco Bay Delta areas, whic provide drinking water for 23 million Californians, the letter said.
The letter also urged a ban due to hazardous air pollutants that have been found near fracking sites, including: methanol, formaldehyde and carbon dioxide.
Fracking and its links to earthquakes also was cited in the letter, with earthquakes in Wilmington, CA, from 1947 to 1961 and more recent quakes in eastern Ohio caused by fracking. The Inglewood Oil Field lies over two earthquake faults and one of the fault lines is expected to have a 7.4 earthquake, the letter said.
The letter also warned of plummeting property values due to fracking.
The Los Angeles City Council also has introduced a resolution calling for a statewide moratorium on fracking. In addition, state Assemblywoman Betsy Butler (D-Los Angeles) in June announced a new bill that would halt fracking until the practice can be tracked and regulated.
The state's Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) held a public meeting in June in Culver City to discuss fracking as it attempts to develop regulations to govern it. The federal Environmental Protection Agency in June 2011 found that DOGGR was not adequately protecting California's water from pollution from faulty wells due to inadequate staffing and other problems, according to the letter approved by the Mar Vista Community Council.