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Fracking bill moves forward in California Legislature
Michael J. Mishak
With oil companies touting the potential of hydraulic fracturing in California, state lawmakers considered the first of several bills Tuesday to address the controversial oil extraction method commonly known as "fracking."
The Senate Natural Resources Committee passed a measure that would require energy firms to notify property owners before using the procedure near their land.
Fracking, which involves injecting chemical-laced water and sand into the ground to break apart rock and release natural gas and oil, has drawn the greatest attention in the Rocky Mountain West and Northeast, where states have debated moratoriums to develop regulations after toxic chemicals were found in nearby drinking water.
While fracking is widely used in California to tap oil deposits, state regulators have yet to develop rules or reporting requirements, causing growing anxiety in communities across the state.
On Tuesday, state Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) described her notification bill as the "necessary first step to begin collecting data on fracking in California." She said oil companies would have to give their neighbors 30-days notice before fracking, "just like you would be expecting your neighbor to put up a sign if they were adding a second story" to their house.