Alameda County bans fracking!

By Rebecca Franke

Photo by Ella Teevan.We did it! After more than two years of effort (and many calls for your support from the Sierra Club and other groups), the ordinance to ban fracking and other extreme oil-recovery methods in Alameda County was passed by the Board of Supervisors. The initial unanimous vote in favor came on July 19. The final vote, again unanimous, came on August 2.

The effect of the ordinance is both practical and symbolic. Neither the current extractor in Livermore, E&B Natural Resources, nor any other oil company can apply hydraulic fracturing, or acids, or steam to stimulate extraction of oil or gas from unincorporated areas of the county. Passage of the ordinance marks Alameda as the first county in the Bay Area — and yet another in the state — to declare that enabling continued investments in oil and gas extraction is a threat to their residents, and, ultimately, humanity.

Achieving this victory was a collaborative effort that saw the Sierra Club SF Bay Chapter working alongside groups that included Food and Water Watch, the Center for Biological Diversity, 350 Bay Area, Rootskeeper, the Sunflower Alliance, and the local MoveOn chapter. The supervisors — Keith Carson, Wilma Chan, Nate Miley, Richard Valle, and longtime supporter Scott Haggerty — all came through.  Their stand is in sharp contrast to the unwillingness of the Monterey County Board of Supervisors to entertain restrictions on local extractors; this inaction forced citizens to take action on their own to qualify a ballot measure for November. And, since there's always more work for us to do, to become involved in that effort, check out