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Tuesday, February 19 , 2019, 3:56 am | Fair 39º


Jackson’s Fracking Bill Advances Out of Senate Committee

A bill by state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, to protect drinking water and bring more regulation and oversight to the oil and gas extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, passed out of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee. The vote was 6-3.

Senate Bill 395 would regulate the wastewater produced from oil and gas extraction. It would require that any fluids brought up during the process that are hazardous be regulated as a hazardous waste by the Department of Toxic Substances Control. This would give DTSC the authority to ensure that the appropriate precautions are taken in how the waste water is transported and disposed.

“Fracking has become one of the central environmental issues of our time, and many people are rightfully concerned about the potential impact it may have on our drinking water, our agricultural water supplies and our environment,” Jackson said. “We need to make sure there is proper oversight of the potentially toxic chemical brew that’s produced from fracking, and this bill will help do that.”

During fracking, water, sand and chemical additives are injected under pressure to fracture the shale reservoir, which increases the flow of oil and gas. Though a comparatively small amount of chemicals are part of the injected fluids, they have the potential to be dangerously toxic. Twenty-nine of the most commonly used hydraulic fracturing chemicals are known carcinogens.

SB 395 now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

— Lisa Gardiner is the communications director for state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson.

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