The Alameda County Board of Supervisors has voted 5-0 to ban fracking in unincorporated Alameda County.
The Zoning Ordinance Amendment passed at the July 19 hearing restricts most forms of oil and gas well enhancement and stimulation techniques. The amendment receives a second reading on August 2nd as a regular calendar item, and if passed again will take effect 30 days later.
The Board of Supervisors has requested that county staff bring them more information on water injection and waterflood well enhancement in the near future. Further deliberation might require adjustment of the ordinance to tighten up any loopholes.
Alameda County, which lies at the northernmost edge of the Monterey shale formation, is joining Butte, Mendocino, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties in banning fracking and other methods of extreme oil extraction.
Save the date for the Second Reading!
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Alameda County Board of Supervisors
1221 Oak St., Fifth Floor
Oakland, CA 94612
Here is a summary of the ordinance:
RESTRICTION OF HIGH INTENSITY OIL AND NATURAL GAS OPERATIONS IN THE UNINCORPORATED AREAS ALAMEDA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA – Amend the Zoning Ordinance to define high intensity oil and gas operations in the unincorporated area, including well stimulation by increasing the permeability of the geologic rock formation; enhanced recovery wells that are injected with water and/or various chemicals into oil-bearing formations; hydraulic fracturing; acid fracturing; acid matrix stimulation treatment; acid well stimulation treatment; and disposal or storage of the substances used in or the waste or byproducts of the uses listed above; to prohibit these uses, including necessary equipment; to provide an amortization period of one (1) year in which any existing operations could be brought into compliance with the new requirements; to require itself to be consistent with State and Federal law; to provide a procedure for an operator to demonstrate a vested right to conduct the prohibited activities, in which case an exemption should be granted by the Planning Commission; and to prohibit the use of storage or percolation pits for disposal of waste water from any and all oil and gas operations.
Planning Commission Recommendation: On May 23, 2016, Planning Commission voted 6-0 to recommend that the Board approve the Proposed Ordinance with the optional language that would allow waterflood well enhancement. This recommendation would allow the current operator to continue exploration and primary oil extraction by currently employed methods permitted under its permit from the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), and would also allow secondary well enhancement in the form of limited waterflood enhancement, but would still prohibit steam injection, cyclic steaming, and all forms of well stimulation including hydraulic and acid fracturing and acid matrix stimulation.
Planning Staff Recommendation: That the Board approve and adopt the proposed Ordinance in the form as recommended by the Planning Commission and County Staff, with provision for limited waterflood well stimulation.