They’re not sure whether hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) is occurring within Los Angeles, or to what extent. But by Gaia, they’re banning it.
A raucous meeting at the L.A. City Council ended with cheers from the packed audience, the L.A. Times reports, after officials bowed to the will of the mob and took the first steps to stop a safe method of natural gas extraction that has shown no scientific evidence of significant environmental damage.
Pumpjacks are already dotted around the city, owing to the fact that California is rich in fossil fuels and once took their development seriously, before anti-development fanaticism took over. Many of the oil wells are quite cleverly disguised–which is why some residents came to the City Council meeting warning about “drilling” in their neighborhoods, seemingly unaware that they are surrounded by safe, clean, productive oil infrastructure.
Reporter Emily Alpert Reyes chronicled some of the ignorance on display about fracking in L.A. and in general:
Environmentalists and neighborhood activists opposed to the practice and other kinds of well stimulation argue that such methods taint drinking water and trigger seismic activity.
“It is known to be an ecological disaster. It is known to be a health catastrophe,” said Kwazi Nkrumah, co-chair of the Martin Luther King Coalition of Greater Los Angeles. “And it’s also an economic bulldozer against the communities where it takes place.”
Several Angelenos complained about vibrations and other problems that they blamed on oil extraction activities at nearby wells.
“Our walls are crumbling,” said Llewyn Fowlkes, part of the Harbor Gateway North Neighborhood Council, which backs a ban. “Our sidewalks are pulling apart and cracking.”
The city council was probably relieved to be able to blame fracking, rather than poor management and shoddy maintenance, for the state of public infrastructure.
In related news, L.A.’s unemployment rate hovers near 10%.