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State Assembly Advances Fracking Bill

The California Assembly’s Natural Resource committee yesterday took a key step in advancing a new bill which would regulate the controversial oil and natural gas drilling process known as fracking.

Fracking or hydraulic fracturing, is a process which injects large amounts of water and chemicals as a way to extract natural gas. With natural gas being touted as an alternative to imported oil, fracking is both big business these days and under fire from environmentalists.

Now California legislators are backing a bill which would impose more statewide regulations.

“Our question is why hasn’t the statewide regulatory body, the division of oil and gas been on top of this, apparently they haven’t,” Bill Allayud with the Environmental Working Group said.

Allayud is one of the sponsors of the measure. Allayud said fracking is happening in California, but just how much and what kind of chemicals are being used is not completely known. He said the bill would require drillers to answer key questions.

“What chemicals they are injecting into the ground, if they are near any seismic faults,” Allayud said. “And if they are going to inject any proposition 65 chemicals. If you are going to inject a carcinogen near my house, then I want to know.”

Oil and natural gas companies are expected to fight the measure, arguing that fracking is safe and that they are transparent about what chemicals they are using.

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