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Fracking Moratorium - Major Victory in Salinas Valley
by via Ed Mitchell, Protect Salinas Valley
Monday May 5th, 2014 11:36 AM
Protect Salinas Valley, an outgrowth of Aromas Cares for Our Environment (A.C.E.), is proud to announce a major victory against unrestricted fracking in Salinas Valley. Families and Ag industries from San Ardo to Aromas gained significant protection on Wednesday April 30th, when the Monterey County Planning Commission recommended to the Board of Supervisors to establish a 2-year moratorium on any fracking within the county.
I founded Protect Salinas Valley after supporting A.C.E’s success at getting a fracking ordinance in San Benito county. While other frack-concerned organizations in our county work at the state-level PSV focuses on preventing unrestricted fracking in our county if the state allows fracking across California.

It’s one of the reasons why I’m running for supervisor. We need an elected official on the Board of Supervisors that will fight to protect the valley from negative fracking impacts like San Benito County Supervisor Anthony Botelho did with A.C.E. If you agree, please vote for me or if you don’t live in District-2 then please send e-mails to any of your friends in North County and encourage them to vote for me.

PSV was helpful getting the moratorium because we modified A.C.E’s San Benito ordinance for the unique environmental and economic aspects of Salinas Valley. Those modifications included enforceable and extremely tough requirements on the frack operators. Like requiring a “chemical fingerprint” of the toxic soup they inject underground. Plus, we included a prohibition against fracking wells within the Salinas Valley watershed to protect the Salinas Valley River from pollution, should there be a future leak from a fracking well that could devastate the Ag economy of the valley.

For over a year we’ve performed outreach to county stakeholders, like the County Planning Department, the Health Department, the Farm Bureau, radio stations, etc; offering our insights into protections for families, farms, and businesses. We told folks PSV’s comprehensive ordinance is a template for consideration and encouraged them to publically offer up what ordinance wordings they felt were better or needed changing. You can see our ordinance at protectsalinasvalley.org.

Some of the memorable outreach moments include being called a “shill for the oil industry” and “all you want to do is stop fracking”. We persisted as A.C.E did. Because we keep a close eye on what the county is up to, we learned that the first modification to any county ordinance was about to appear.

I immediately notified other frack-concerned groups that action was needed.

We met at a coordination meeting I hosted at my house with the reps from Californian’s Against Fracking, Sustainability Monterey, NRDC, and PSV. We agreed that our goal was to request a local moratorium. We coordinated our mail in letters and orchestrated the flow of verbal submittals to maximize our impact.

The result: over twenty of us spoke at the Planning Commission hearing in support of a moratorium. Three folks spoke for the oil industry, including the one who said there’s never been any problem from fracking in the last 50 years of applying the technology.

You can imagine the clapping, cheering, and high-fives we enjoyed after the unanimous vote for the moratorium. So thank you A.C.E for your central coast leadership to regulate fracking. Your leadership and hard work has expanded into sister counties.

Ed Mitchell
Founder Protect Salinas Valley
Master of the Prunedale Grange
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Thank You!HTTuesday May 6th, 2014 11:34 AM