The city council of Carson, California — part of Los Angeles County — unanimously approved a 45-day moratorium on new oil and gas drilling, blocking Occidental Petroleum’s plans to drill more than 200 new wells there.
Occidental had first planned in 2012 to drill the new wells in the Dominquez Oil Field in Carson. It planned to use hydraulic fracturing to extract an estimated 52 million barrels of oil from the field.
People in Carson objected based on the impact fracking could have on local air and water quality.
“When two test wells currently operating at the Dominquez project showed fracking would not effectively increase production, Occidental withdrew fracking from the project’s scope,” Occidental spokesperson Susie Geiger told Reuters.
But Carson’s city council voted 5-0 Tuesday for the moratorium on all new oil drilling, with or without fracking.
During the moratorium, the council will consider more regulations for drilling in the city.
“There are too many questions, too many unknowns and too many possible bad consequences that could result from the city engaging in this activity,” said Albert Robles of the Carson council.
“The coastal city of Santa Cruz passed a fracking moratorium in September. Last month, the Los Angeles city council voted unanimously to prohibit fracking and other unconventional oil recovery practices at oil fields in the city. A final vote is required before it goes into effect,” Reuters said.
California Governor Jerry Brown hasn’t imposed a state-wide moratorium on fracking despite demands by environmentalists.
“If Governor Brown doesn’t stand up to the fracking industry, he should expect a wave of local governments, under intense pressure from their constituents, to take action to protect residents from the toxic effects of fracking,” Zack Malitz of the group Credo told Reuters.