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OilMonster

Natural Gas May 30, 2019 01:00:09 AM

Oregon Senate Passes 5-Year Fracking Moratorium for Oil, Natural Gas

Anil
Mathews
OilMonster Author
The bill now goes back to the House to approve the amendment, and then to Gov. Kate Brown for her signature.
Oregon Senate Passes 5-Year Fracking Moratorium for Oil, Natural Gas

SEATTLE (Oil Monster): The Oregon Senate has approved a temporary ban on hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas, also known as “fracking.”

But members amended the House proposal, reducing the moratorium from 10 to 5 years.

The bill now goes back to the House to approve the amendment, and then to Gov. Kate Brown for her signature.

"Moving this fracking moratorium forward is a huge accomplishment for Oregon communities in protecting our water, health and climate," said Thomas Meyer, regional organizing manager for Food & Water Watch.

"Unfortunately, the Senators kicked the can down the road by shortening the moratorium to five years," he said. "If policy makers are serious about addressing the climate crisis, they should ban fracking once and for all, here in Oregon and across the country."

More than a million wells have been fracked in the United States. The process usually involves injecting water, sand and chemicals into a bedrock formation under high pressure to fracture the rock and release trapped hydrocarbons.

With the exception of some coal bed methane wells near Coos Bay, there aren’t any fracking wells in Oregon. But the U.S. Geological Survey says there is a potential for more coal bed methane fracturing in the Willamette Valley.

Proponents of the practice, including the Western States Petroleum Association, point to economic benefits enjoyed by communities with wells, and the energy independence they afford.

The say hydraulic fracturing has been used safely for decades.

Before the vote, Sen. Cliff Bentz, D-Ontario, argued that banning fracking makes it harder for other types of gas and oil projects to move forward, because financing for those wells is easier to get if developers say they might someday use hydraulic fracturing. 

"In Oregon the odds of us ever actually fracturing underground are extremely limited," Bentz said. 

Fracking opponents argue that the wells use large amounts of fresh water, can contaminate groundwater with chemicals, can potentially trigger earthquakes, and release methane that contributes to climate change.

They say the state doesn’t have sufficient regulations in place to protect the environment from the practice.

"We don't want oil and gas companies to come in and start wasting our water and damaging our environment to make a buck," said Sen. James Manning Jr., D-Eugene, who carried the bill. 

The Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries adopted rules for conventional oil and gas wells in 2013, but they don’t cover hydraulic fracturing.

Courtesy: www.statesmanjournal.com

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