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California and Fracking

Frack Target: Monterey Shale/McClure Shale

Water Resources at Stake: Water Resources at Stake: Sisquoc River, Salinas River, Amargosa River

Fracking in California has yet to begin in earnest, but that could soon change. In Monterey County, officials have given a green light to Denver-based oil company Venoco to drill exploratory wells in the Hames Valley using fracking technology. The area has long been home to plenty of oil drilling and a new boom could be on its way, thanks to fracking. Oil and gas companies are also eyeing the large tracts of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land with mineral rights over the Monterey Shale formation.

Unfracktured Communities – Fighting Fracking: In 2013, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a controversial bill allowing fracking to proceed in the state without an environmental review. Concerned, communities in the state have started to take matters into their own hands.

In February 2014, the City of Los Angeles unanimously voted to approve a moratorium on fracking and other unconventional oil extraction techniques, becoming the largest city in the country to pass such a measure. Local elected officials are in the process of adopting, or have adopted, fracking bans or moratoriums in Beverly Hills, Compton and Culver City and in Santa Cruz and Butte counties. Initiatives banning fracking are on the ballot in San Benito and Santa Barbara Counties.

Similar actions by additional communities are expected, because California law allows municipalities to adopt oil and gas industry regulations as well as to prohibit the industry through zoning.

Fraccidents: Below is a map of some of the high profile incidents ("fraccidents") related to the country's gas drilling boom that have already occurred. Click on any fraccident to learn more.

Fraccidents Map in a larger map

View other states affected by fracking:

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Fighting Fracking Across the U.S.

In communities across the country, people are standing up to the fracking industry, passing bans and limits on fracking and defending their right to do so in court. And when the oil and gas industry tries to bully communities into backing down, communities are fighting back—and winning. Learn about some of these fights.