Members of the Los Angeles City Council have proposed a motion that would ban all hydraulic fracturing, acidizing, gravel packing and other well-stimulation practices within the city and in any areas that provide drinking water to the city, alleging that these oil and gas operations and the use of waste disposal injection wells ‘threaten to contaminate the City’s imported and local groundwater supplies [and are] inherently dangerous to the long-term safety, health, security and reliability of Los Angeles’ water supplies.” These council members point to “more than 1,000 documents cases of water contamination next to fracking sites,” but they provide no support for this claim. Additional allegations include:

  • Because the chemicals used in the these operations are not disclosed, the Department of Water & Power would be unable to determine whether the water supplies were being contaminated by these chemicals.
  • These operations require large volumes of water and would “jeopardize regional, state, and water supplies needed by the people of Los Angeles.”
  • Treatment of contaminated groundwater is expensive, and identifying the responsible parties for financial liability is not always possible.
  • These operations “seriously undermine the State’s efforts to address the climate crisis by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
  • Fracking and injection cause “seismic events.”

The council members request “an ordinance to change the zoning code to prohibit all activity associated with well stimulation…until the City Council is assured that companies conducting fracking within the City of Los Angeles or in areas providing drinking water to the City, can mitigate the effects on climate change, protect environmental quality and natural resources, promote community awareness, allow government access to and testing of chemicals used, anticipate and include related older and emerging extraction technologies such as hydraulic fracturing, acidizing, gravel packing and all wastewater disposal, and require full disclosure and testing of sites, with adequate time for public input.”


This post was written by Barclay Nicholson (barclay.nicholson@nortonrosefulbright.com or 713.651.3662) from Norton Rose Fulbright’s Energy Practice Group.