The Planning and Land Use Management Committee of Los Angeles has approved two motions that could lead to a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing and other unconventional oil and gas extraction practices, including well stimulation methods such as acidizing and gravel-packing.
The proposal on the ban was tabled by council members Paul Koretz and Mike Bonin in September 2013. Last Friday, council members voted unanimously in favor of the moratorium, CBS Los Angeles reported. Once the zoning ordinance has been drafted, the City Councial will hold a final vote.
Proponents of the moratorium claim that fracking and other well-stimulation practices could pose a threat to the city's water supply, could cause air pollution, could trigger earthquakes and could result in property damage. Council member Bonin told the Planning and Land Use Management Committee that fracking in and around the city was taking place without any effective oversight or consideration for community safety.
The oil and gas industry dismisses such concerns, explaining that practices like fracking and well stimulation are not dangerous and are a valuable source of new jobs for local communities. Nick Ortiz, of the Western States Petroleum Association, told the committee that hydraulic fracturing was a safe technology that has proved its value over the years and "has never been associated with any confirmed case of groundwater contamination," the Los Angeles Times reported.