In contrast with California where every bill to ban or impose a moratorium on fracking has been defeated under heavy political pressure by Big Oil, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed into law a five-year ban on fracking for oil and gas exploration and production on June 17.
HB 2623, sponsored by Rep. Julie Fahey and Sen. James Manning, received final approval by the state legislature on June 5. The bill previously banned fracking for 10 years, but the Senate reduced that ban to five years.
The House concurred in Senate amendments and repassed the bill. The votes were: Ayes, 40; Nays, 19–Barker, Barreto, Bonham, Boshart Davis, Evans, Findley, Keny-Guyer, Leif, McLane, Nearman, Noble, Post, Reschke, Sanchez, Smith G, Sprenger, Stark, Wallan, Wilson; Excused for Business of the House, 1–Rayfield.
The controversial process to extract oil and gas has poisoned drinking water and caused widespread health problems in other states, according to fracking opponents. It has has been banned in Vermont, New York, Maryland, and Washington.
Food & Water Watch was the first national organization to call for a ban on fracking everywhere – and has helped mobilize opposition to fracking in Oregon, California and across the country.
“This is a huge victory for Oregon communities and the growing national movement against fracking,” said Food & Water Watch Regional Organizing Manager Thomas Meyer in response to the governor signing the bill into law. “Fracking should be banned everywhere, for the sake of our health, our water, and the climate we all depend on. Passing this bill is a big step towards achieving that goal.”
However, Myer said Governor Brown must take further action to stop fracked gas infrastructure in Oregon.
“While we applaud Governor Brown for signing the fracking moratorium into law, she needs to do even more to stop dangerous fracked gas infrastructure in Oregon. A new Food & Water Watch report makes it clear that in order to address the climate crisis, we need to stop all new fracked gas infrastructure, including the Jordan Cove LNG export terminal and the Pacific Connector pipeline. Governor Brown should use her executive authority to stop dangerous fracked gas projects and transition Oregon to 100% clean, renewable energy now,” said Meyer.
There are no current fracking operations for oil or natural gas being conducted in Oregon, although there are some coal bed methane wells near Coos Bay that are being fracked.
The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) and other fracking proponents claim that hydraulic fracturing provides “economic benefits,” fosters energy independence and is “safe.”
The signing of the five-year-fracking ban is a huge victory not just for the Oregon communities and the growing movement against fracking, but it is a giant victory against the Western States Petroleum Association and the oil and gas industry that opposes fracking bans and moratoriums. Every attempt to impose a fracking ban or moratorium throughout California has been stopped by heavy lobbying and campaign spending by WSPA and Big Oil, although voters have passed regional bans in Mendocino County, Butte County, San Benito County and Monterey County.