The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Alameda Becomes 5th County in California to Ban Fracking
Five counties in California have now banned fracking. Alameda County is the latest to join the list after county leaders voted unanimously in favor of banning fracking Tuesday evening.
Alameda County is the first county in the San Francisco Bay area to ban hydraulic fracturing, CBS San Francisco reported. A coalition of environmental groups worked for more than two years to persuade county officials to ban the practice.
"We've taken a step that will protect everyone in Alameda County, especially our children and grandchildren, from toxic chemicals," said Karen White of the Alameda County Against Fracking coalition.
No companies frack in the county, but environmental groups wanted to prevent the practice from ever happening, The Mercury News reported.
Twenty people sat through the county's board of supervisors meeting to voice their support for the ban.
"It's the only way to protect our environment from the destructive effects of fracking" Kiana Tsao of the Sierra Club said. "Alameda County is a community, not just a commodity for the oil industry."
Environmentalists have been working to ban fracking one county at a time after Gov. Jerry Brown voiced his opposition to a statewide fracking ban.
Santa Cruz, San Benito, Mendocino and Butte counties are the four other counties that have already banned fracking. Environmentalists are now setting their sights on Santa Clara and Monterey counties. Monterey is set to vote in November on the issue.
Colorado will also see anti-fracking initiatives on the November ballot. Measure 75 would amend Colorado's constitution to enable local governments to enact regulations more protective of health and safety than those put in place by the state. This ballot initiative is in reaction to the Colorado's Supreme Court ruling in May that said oil and gas development is pre-empted by the state and that local communities could not pass fracking bans themselves.
The second measure, 78, would create 2,500-foot buffer zones between homes, schools and sensitive areas, such as playgrounds or water sources, and new oil and gas development.
The drilling industry is spending millions of dollars to stop the two statewide initiatives. Companies such as Anadarko Petroleum Corp, Noble Energy and Whiting Petroleum have funneled more than $6.7 million as of July 15 into Protect Colorado, an industry group that hopes to defeat the two initiatives.
Protect Colorado argues the initiatives threaten oil and natural gas development and would "devastate" the state's economy.
But Tricia Olson, executive director of Yes for Health and Safety Over Fracking, told EcoWatch, "We've seen that this industry will say or do anything to mislead the public and protect their bottom line, but the scientific evidence speaks for itself: Fracking is a leading driver of climate change and destroys our most basic resources."
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Respecting scientists has never been a priority for the Trump Administration. Now, a new investigation from The Guardian revealed that Department of the Interior political appointees sought to play up carbon emissions from California's wildfires while hiding emissions from fossil fuels as a way to encourage more logging in the national forests controlled by the Interior department.
Killer hurricanes, devastating wildfires, melting glaciers, and sunny-day flooding in more and more coastal areas around the world have birthed a fatalistic view cleverly dubbed by Mary Annaïse Heglar of the Natural Resources Defense Council as "de-nihilism." One manifestation: An increasing number of people appear to have grown doubtful about the possibility of staving-off climate disaster. However, a new interactive tool from a climate think tank and MIT Sloan shows that humanity could still meet the goals of the Paris agreement and limit global warming.
Burrowing owls, which make their homes in small holes in the ground, are having a rough time in Florida. That's why Marco Island on the Gulf Coast passed a resolution to pay residents $250 to start an owl burrow in their front yard, as the Marco Eagle reported.
Hundreds of Amazon workers publicly criticized the company's climate policies Sunday, showing open defiance of the company following its threats earlier this month to fire workers who speak out on climate change.
East Africa is facing its worst locust infestation in decades, and the climate crisis is partly to blame.