The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Monterey Becomes California's First Major Oil-Producing County to Ban Fracking
The measure won with more than 55 percent of the vote, despite supporters being outspent 30 to 1 by oil companies, including Chevron and Aera Energy. Measure Z also phases out toxic wastewater injection and prohibits new oil wells in the county. Monterey is the sixth county in California to ban fracking.
Outspent 30-1, fracktivists in oil-producing Monterey County manage to ban fracking.Protect Monterey County
"We congratulate the people of Monterey County for banning fracking and protecting California's water, agriculture and public health," said Adam Scow, California director of Food & Water Watch. "This campaign proves that everyday people can defeat Big Oil's millions, even in a place where it is actively drilling. We look forward to seeing Californians build on this momentum towards winning a statewide ban on fracking."
Residents put Measure Z on the ballot after county supervisors in 2015 rejected the unanimous recommendation by the planning commission to enact moratorium on fracking and wastewater injection.
"David beat Goliath in Monterey County's stunning victory against oil industry pollution," said Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity. "Despite spending millions, oil companies couldn't suppress this grassroots campaign. This triumph against fracking will inspire communities across California and the whole country to stand up to this toxic industry."
While oil companies have fracked in Monterey County, current production in the county's San Ardo oilfield relies on cyclic steam injection, a process that uses massive amounts of water containing toxic chemicals and generates significant greenhouse gas pollution. Measure Z bans this environmentally destructive type of extreme extraction.
Many wells in the county re-inject toxin-laden oil wastewater, contaminating the aquifers below. Oil companies have been improperly injecting toxic oil wastewater into local aquifers that were supposed to be protected under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. Measure Z will phase out wastewater injection to ensure that such disasters will not be repeated.
The grassroots Protect Monterey County coalition built a powerful alliance of businesses, labor, students, Latinos, homeowners and environmental organizations. In the days leading up to the election, coalition members fanned out across the county going door to door to drum up support for the measure.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Tara Lohan
It's been the wettest 12 months on record in the continental United States. Parts of the High Plains and Midwest are still reeling from deadly, destructive and expensive spring floods — some of which have lasted for three months.
Mounting bills from natural disasters like these have prompted renewed calls to reform the National Flood Insurance Program, which is managed by Federal Emergency Management Agency and is now $20 billion in debt.
By Brenda Ekwurzel
When temperatures hit the 80s Fahrenheit in May above latitude 40, sun-seekers hit the parks, lakes, and beaches, and thoughts turn to summer. By contrast, when temperatures lurk in the drizzly 40s and 50s well into flower season, northerners get impatient for summer. But when those 80-degree temperatures visit latitude 64 in Russia, as they just did, and when sleet disrupts Mother's Day weekend in May in Massachusetts, as it just did, thoughts turn to: what is going on here?
By Eoin Higgins
A bill making its way through the Texas legislature would make protesting pipelines a third-degree felony, the same as attempted murder.