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Posted on February 11, 2013 | 6:37 p.m.

Supervisor Farr to Testify at State Senate Hearing on Hydraulic Fracturing

Source: Stephanie Langsdorf for Supervisor Doreen Farr

Santa Barbara County Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr will be offering testimony regarding hydraulic fracturing (commonly referred to as “fracking”) on Tuesday morning to the Senate Committees on Natural Resources and Water and Environmental Quality in Sacramento.

Fracking is a drilling technique that involves injecting chemicals, sand and substantial amounts of water under high pressure directly into the ground to release natural gas in shale deposits. This mixture of toxins and sediment, along with any natural gas released, can leak to the surface and enter groundwater during the process.

The invitation to Supervisor Farr to testify at the hearing comes in response to the discovery that an oil producer conducted hydraulic fracturing on two oil wells just outside of Los Alamos that were permitted with a Land Use Permit. This permit did not authorize hydraulic fracturing; however, it did not explicitly preclude hydraulic fracturing.

Through the leadership of Supervisor Farr and the Board of Supervisors, the county quickly notified all local oil producers that use of hydraulic fracturing on any new or existing well required an Oil Drilling and Production Plan. The county also chose to revise its zoning code to explicitly identify the requirement for an Oil Drilling and Production Plan prior to the use of hydraulic fracturing on any new or existing well.

The overarching goal of the hearing is to explore how fracking may be proposed to be regulated in California. Specific topics to be explored are gaps in the current regulatory framework, changes proposed at the state level, overlap and coordination between jurisdictions and regulators, and the concerns of local governments, the industry and environmental stakeholders.

The hearing can be viewed online beginning at 9:30 am Tuesday by clicking here.

— Stephanie Langsdorf represents Santa Barbara County Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr.

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