warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

To Frack Or Not To Frack: Los Angeles Considers A Citywide Ban

Sara Newman |
September 7, 2013 | 11:41 a.m. PDT

Executive Producer


California Oil Fracking, photo by spk22, via Creative Commons
California Oil Fracking, photo by spk22, via Creative Commons
People often complain about the Los Angeles smog, and thanks to a recent proposal by two Los Angeles City Council members, something may suddenly be done about it.  

Council members Paul Koretz and Mike Bonin are trying to place a temporary ban on fracking until oil companies can prove that their business does not pose serious environmental threats—no air pollution, water pollution, or increased earthquake risk allowed. 

Fracking, the practice in question, is a controversial process that involves injecting a mixture of water and chemicals into rock formations under intense pleasure in order to create cracks, from which natural gas or oil can be accessed. 

Fracking has sparked debate throughout the country as environmentalists and oil companies butt heads about the potentially dangerous effects of fracking. Recently Matt Damon and John Krasinski brought the issue to the silver screen with their environmentalist flick, Promised Land.

“Who in the world would think it would be a good idea to pump an unknown combination of potentially toxic chemicals right near our drinking water,” said Bonin, a longtime critic of fracking practices. “Who in the world would think that made sense?”

Fracking is currently unregulated by California officials, so the new motion seeks to eliminate "all activity associated with well stimulation, including, but not limited to, hydraulic fracturing, gravel packing, and acidizing, or any combination thereof, and the use of waste disposal injection wells.” 

The City Council members have asked the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee to work with the city attorney and planning officials to create an ordinance that would ban fracking and all related activities within the city and along L.A.’s water supply route.

David Quast, of the California Independent Petroleum Association, supports fracking as a safe process that has created thousands of jobs, and hence provided a tremendous boost to the Los Angeles economy. 

“As far as the water contamination goes, there has also never been a case of water contamination that was directly linked to the process of fracking,” he said in an interview with KCAL9.

Stay tuned as the debate over fracking in the city continue to unfold. 

Contact Executive Producer Sara Newman here and follow her on Twitter.



Live On Twitter


Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.



Dr. James McFadden (not verified) on September 10, 2013 6:25 PM

David Quast, a known shill for Big Oil, makes a totally misleading statement based on a very narrow redefinition of "fracking" that the oil companies are trying to sell. Big Oil wants to redefine “fracking” as that instant when the hydraulic pressure is applied, rather than the entire process of unconventional oil/gas stimulation including its disposal of toxic waste water. It’s like saying that burning gas in your car does not pollute the air because the instant the spark plug fires, the exhaust fumes are contained in the cylinder – only later (0.5 seconds later) are the exhaust fumes released to the atmosphere by your tail pipe, therefore burning gas does not create pollution. It’s an absolutely absurd and nonsensical redefinition of fracking that they are trying to sell. No one cares about that instant when the pressure is applied in fracking – we care about the toxic waste water that is produced. It is this toxic water from fracking that people worry about. A single gallon of toxic waste water can pollute millions of gallons of drinking water. Frackers pump this waste water into the ground at well sites which have well casing failure rates of 5% per year. It is this waste water storage that is fracking our aquifers and polluting our drinking water. When the frackers can get away with it (which is easy with a corrupt DOGGR for oversight), they just dump this toxic water in unlined pits or streams to avoid the shipping costs to storage wells. Big Oil is like the mafia – they will do anything, say anything, pollute everything, to increase their profits. We aren’t buying Big Oil’s attempt to redefine fracking. We came up with the term to describe what they are doing. “Fracking is the entire process of unconventional oil/gas stimulation, including disposal of all the waste products.” We will continue to hang this “Fracking” label on Big Oil, which metaphorically describes exactly what Frackers are doing to us. Californians have to focus on the long term impact of toxic fracking water on our aquifers. Californians have to think about health of our children and the quality of life in our beautiful state. We are not Texas. We don’t want our state fracked! We need to “defuse the carbon bomb” now and tell our governor that “clean energy works”. I strongly suggest you call Jerry Brown and tell him “No Fracking Way – Don’t Frack California”.