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California: Two of Three Counties Vote to Prohibit Fracking

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Residents in Mendocino and San Benito counties voted to prohibit drilling activity while Santa Barbara County voters defeated a similar ballot measure. The Mendocino County measure was part of an ordinance establishing a “Community Bill of Rights” that establishes that residents “possess the right to water, air and soil that is untainted by toxins, carcinogens, particulates, nucleotides, and hydrocarbons introduced into the environment through unconventional extraction of hydrocarbons.” The San Benito measure called for a block on hydraulic fracturing and other “high-intensity petroleum operations.” The measure in Santa Barbara contained similar language to that in San Benito County.  Though all three counties lie on the Monterey Shale, the Associated Press reports that there is currently no onshore fracking activity in these counties. Oil companies provided about $7 million in funds to defeat these measures. Butte County has proposed an anti-fracking measure for the 2016 ballot.