Ban fracking

The news shortly before the holidays that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had banned fracking in that state is, while certainly good news for New Yorkers, also a wake-up call for California.

Cuomo’s decision was for the most part based on information about known health risks for those who live in areas where fracking has been routinely practiced. Most of these health risks involve exposure to the chemicals used in fracking, many of which are proprietary mixtures, and the dangers of fracking solvents, wastewater from the process and leftover natural gas working its way into the water system.

There is also ongoing concern about earthquakes associated with fracking. According to the United States Geological Survey, fracking is closely associated with the increased incidence of minor earthquakes in Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas. While this remains an instance of correlation, with further study needed to determine causality, it is certainly cause for concern.

That concern, both for the terrible consequences of pollution and contamination as result of fracking and for the possibility of increased seismic activity, is more than enough reason to ban fracking in California as well.

It only makes sense that, in a state where earthquakes have been a common historical occurrence, we would wait for the science on the relationship between fracking and earthquakes to be more conclusive before moving forward with this fossil-fuel extraction process.

It is with this common sense attitude that we urge Gov. Jerry Brown and the next session of the California state legislature to adopt, at the very least, a temporary ban on the practice of fracking in the state. We won’t have a second opportunity to get this right; we only have one state’s worth of natural resources. Please call or email the governor and your state assembly members and senators asking them to do this simple thing to protect the well-being of our state.