The San Benito County Board of Supervisors asked its County Counsel to draft a moratorium on fracking for its October 15 meeting and asked staff to develop a timeline for revising its oil ordinance to address fracking.  County Counsel had determined that, although the County did not have the authority to preempt the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) regulation of subsurface activities, the County could impose a narrow moratorium on surface activities.

The County Board acted in response to a petition with 500 signatures collected by a local group, Aromas Cares For Our Environment, based on speculation that seismic equipment in the area was for oil or natural gas exploration.  In fact, the seismic equipment was used by the owner of a local rock quarry to determine the extent of granite deposits that it has been mining for decades.  The company has never engaged in oil or gas exploration on the property.

Meanwhile, Supervisor Tim Kustic of DOGGR indicated at a fracking forum on September 18 that he planned to propose fracking regulations this fall.

Co-authored by Michael N. Mills and Robin B. Seifried.