Congressman announces support for county fracking ban on ballot

The crowd watches from the county board chambers.

Congressman Sam Farr announced his support of November ballot measure aiming to ban fracking and other enhanced recovery methods used by the oil industry.
Farr, D-Carmel, made the announcement about Measure J during Tuesday’s town hall meeting in Hollister at the San Benito County Administration Building. He briefly touched on the county matter toward the end, as measure supporters looked on from the audience.
He said he saw a commercial during the Emmy Awards show on Monday that was sponsored by Measure J opponents.
“Somebody arguing against Measure J and never once arguing what it does – just that we the friends of San Benito County don’t think it’s a good idea,” Farr said. “You never know what it is.”
A local group is proposing the outright ban against hydraulic fracturing and other forms of high-intensity extraction such as steam injections used at an often debated oil field near Bitterwater.
Supporters and detractors have spent months arguing over the impacts of fracking, which involves the use of sand, chemicals and water to unearth natural gas. The measure’s opponents, though, have focused much of their attention on the initiative’s proposed ban against all petroleum activities within certain planning zones, while arguing it would affect a significant portion of rural San Benito County.
Those zones – Rural, Rural Transitional, Rural Residential, Rural Urban, and Sphere of Influence Rural/Urban – mostly include areas surrounding the cities.
Look back next week for a story on the people and groups on both sides of the Measure J debate.

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