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As the fracking debate heats up in north Orange County, opponents of the controversial oil extraction method are planning to take their concerns directly to county leaders.
During public comments at Tuesday’s county supervisors meeting, activists are scheduled to call for a fracking ban in unincorporated county areas and deliver more than 2,500 petition signatures calling for a ban on fracking in Orange County.
County supervisors have direct authority over land use issues in unincorporated areas.
Activists with Orange County Against Fracking say they’ve reached out to Board of Supervisors Chairman Shawn Nelson of Fullerton, whose 4th district in the north county area includes regions where fracking has occurred.
“Nelson insists that there’s no fracking taking place in unincorporated areas of Orange County, and denies that fracking poses a problem in Orange County,” said Alex Nagy, an organizer with Food and Water Watch.
“We are attending the meeting to correct Nelson’s perception, and educate the board on the threat fracking poses to groundwater, air pollution, and earthquakes in Orange County.”
Fracking has become a major debate topic in north Orange County recently, in the wake of state water officials disclosing several wells in the area have been fracked. Most of those wells are in oil fields in an unincorporated area of Orange County just north of Brea.
Activists say a major oil company in the area – Linn Energy – has not publicly denied that it has engaged in fracking in North County.
In Yorba Linda, fracking has taken place in wells in the middle of a residential neighborhood, according to data from state water regulators.
As it becomes more and more difficult for oil and gas to be extracted through traditional methods, companies have been turning to fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing, which involves injecting a high-pressure mix of water, sand and chemicals underground to break up rock formations containing fuel.
The method has been praised as the possible trigger for an economic boom that will create millions of jobs nationwide and help shift America off of its dependence on foreign energy sources.
But fracking has also come under intense scrutiny for its environmental impacts. Communities close to natural gas fracking operations in the northeast U.S. have argued their groundwater wells were contaminated with chemicals and methane.
Tuesday’s supervisors meeting starts at 9:30 at the county Hall of Administration.