Local Fracking Regulations

Cities and towns around the country, including Boulder, CO and Dallas, TX, have taken local action to restrict fracking in their communities. Several California municipalities have passed measures advocating for more stringent regulations or a moratorium on fracking, yet the local right to ban fracking is contested due to potential conflicts with state and federal law.1

In February, 2014 the Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed a motion instructing the City Attorney’s office to draft  new zoning regulations that would prohibit all activity associated with well stimulation until the impacts on health, water, and earthquakes are fully understood.  If passed, the ordinance would make Los Angeles the only oil-producing city in California, and largest city in the United States, to take action against fracking.

However, with fracking regulated at the state level in California, state law pre-empts local law in matters of natural resources, to a certain extent.2  Below is a summary of local fracking regulations and actions that California municipalities have taken.

Regulations by County

County Action Date Summary of Action
Mendocino County November 4, 2014 Fracking is illegal in Mendocino County, CA. 64% of voters in the county supported a bill eliminating fracking in the area and including provisions for harsh criminal penalties for violators.
Santa Barbara County November 4, 2014 Measure P failed to pass during the November 4th, 2014 election. The ban would have prohibited all forms of high intensity oil extraction including fracking, cyclic steam injection and acidization treatments, but failed due to fierce oil industry opposition. The oil and gas industry created a political action committee, Californians for Energy Independence, which funneled $7.7 million dollars into the county to fight Measure P.
Butte County June 5, 2014 Frack Free Butte County submitted requisite number of signatures to get Butte County Fracking Ban Initiative onto the June, 2016 ballot. The initiative would ban land use involving fracking, acidization, and other well stimulation techniques, including the disposal of fracking byproducts within the County's boundaries. Additionally, the Butte County Department of Development Services has proposed an ordinance to ban fracking and acid well stimulation within the county. The ordinance will be put before the Board of Supervisors sometime next year.
Santa Cruz County May 20, 2014 Unanimous vote by Board of Supervisors to ban fracking and other oil and gas development within County lines.
San Benito County November 4, 2014 On November 4th, voters passed Measure J, which bans fracking and all other high-intensity petroleum operations, including cyclic steam injection and acidization. Measure J passed despite a 13-1 spending deficit.
Monterey County April 30, 2014 The Monterey County Planning Commission recommended an ordinance to ban fracking for two years. The County Board of Supervisors are expected to vote on the ordinance in September, 2014.
Marin County August 1, 2013 Calls for immediate moratorium on fracking in California  until state and federal legislation and regulation are put in place to guarantee public health and safety, mitigate the effects of climate change, allow government access and testing of chemicals used, anticipate emerging extractions technologies and require full disclosure and testing of sites.

Regulations by Cities & Community Districts

City/Community Action Date Summary of Action
Beverly Hills May 7, 2014 Unanimously passed a ban on all fracking, acidization, and well-stimulation techniques used on any surface in the city. The ban includes stimulation techniques used from outside city limits to extract oil and gas from underneath the city.
Compton April 22, 2014 The Compton City Council adopted an indefinite moratorium on fracking that bans fracking for any surface site in the city or from any site outside the city limits where the subsurface bottom hole is located in the city. The ban was rescinded in October 2014 after WSPA sued the city.
Carson March 18, 2014 Unanimously passed a 45-day ban on all new drilling in response to Occidentals plans to bore 200 new wells.
Los Angeles February 28, 2014 Unanimously approved a motion asking for the City Attorney to draft an ordinance to prohibit fracking and acidizing in Los Angeles.
San Francisco Board of Supervisors January 14, 2014 Unanimously voted to urge California to halt all fracking.
Los Angeles Community College District March 1, 2013 Passed a resolution urging Gov. Brown, DOGGR and the California Legislature to place a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing and on the disposal of fracking wastewater by injection wells until DOGGR takes action to implement regulations protecting public health and safety and the environment.
Santa Monica Novermber 27, 2012 Passed a resolution urging DOGGR to place a moratorium on all hydraulic fracturing and encouraging the development of protective regulations.
Rampart Village Neighborhood Council October 1, 2012 Voted unanimously to support a resolution placing a moratorium on fracking and on the disposal of fracking wastewater.
Mar Vista Community Council July 1, 2012 Introduced a motion requesting drafting of a resolution calling for a moratorium on fracking.  The motion has been referred to committee.
Culver City July 1, 2012 Passed a resolution urging DOGGR to place a ban on hydraulic fracturing.
Berkeley May 1, 2011 Passed a resolution in support of the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act and the Bringing Reductions to Energy's Airborne Toxic Health Effects Act to repeal the fracking exemption to the Safe Drinking Water Act and require disclosure of chemicals used in fracking.
La Habra Heights November, 2014 Local residents have gathered enough signatures to qualify their anti-drilling %20summary%20and%20text.pdf" target="_blank">initiative for the March 2015 ballot. The La Habra Heights City Council will vote on whether or not to adopt the the ordinance outright or put it before the voters in March on November 13th.

Community Actions on Fracking

A map of local fracking regulations

California Local Actions, Monitoring and Regulations noted by green checkboxes. Last updated: June 20, 2014. (Source: FracTracker)

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