Democrats Choose Jobs Over Fracking Ban
A California bill that would have banned fracking, pending a state-ordered study deeming the practice safe, was defeated in the state Senate on Wednesday by a narrow two-vote margin.
SB 1132, authored by Democratic state senators Mark Leno and Holly Mitchell, was voted down 18-16. Four "business-friendly" Democrats voted against the bill, and three more Democrats abstained from voting, according to the Sacramento Bee.
In advocating for her bill, Senator Mitchell reportedly said the new legislation would serve to "pause" the controversial oil extraction process temporarily, while the California Natural Resources Agency conducts an independent study to verify its safety.
Opponents of the bill claimed the proposed legislation did not "make sense," according to the Bee. California passed a bill last year regulating fracking, and opponents said an attempt to ban the practice now would result in lost jobs and damage to the state economy.
The bill's opponents seem to have some proof: the fiscal summary of the proposed legislation, prepared by the Senate Appropriations Committee after they passed it late last week, shows that economic losses to California would reach "at least the mid-tens of millions" as a direct result of a fracking ban, according to a report from East Bay Express. The safety study would also reportedly cost between $1 and $2 million dollars to complete.
Although the bill ultimately failed, Senator Mitchell's motion to reconsider was unanimously approved by the Senate. The bill can begin to be reconsidered as early as Thursday, according to the Bee.