Carson Planning Commission must restrict fracking

ShellOil-638x3852 Urban Girls came across this awesome commentary in the Daily Breeze over the weekend.  Written by Alexandra Nagy, a Southern California organizer for Food & Water Watch, she makes the case of why the Carson Planning Commission needs to vote to end fracking in the City of Carson, at today’s scheduled meeting.  Unfortunately the commission held off on voting until Tuesday, September 8, 2015.

The health and well-being of Carson residents will be in the hands of the Carson Planning Commission on Tuesday, when commissioners vote on a long-awaited fracking ban and oil code update. In January, years of pressure by organized Carson residents resulted in California Resources Corp. (formally Occidental Petroleum) dropping its proposal for 200 new fracking wells. Now the city of Carson must uphold its goals to protect public health and the environment by passing restrictions on oil activities that would protect public health and the environment from dangerous new drilling.

Sixty-seven oil wells are active in Carson, mostly in the southwest corner of the city; nearly half about the Carousel Tract, where an abandoned Shell Oil tank farm infamously left waste oil beneath the ground many years ago. As oil sludge leached into the soil, residents were exposed to high levels of benzene — a cancer-causing chemical.

In general, people in Carson are overburdened by toxic pollution. The CalEnviroScreen database prepared by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment ranks Carson in the top 15 percent of most polluted communities in California. More drilling and fracking would only increase that burden.

Thankfully, the Planning Commission has a chance to start turning things around. But before they vote on Tuesday, commissioners must amend both the proposed fracking ban and oil code update to ensure that the new legislation offers the protections Carson residents want and need.

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