Sups to discuss fracking permit process in Butte County

Apr 7, 2014 7:38 PM

The Butte County Board of Supervisors are slated to bring up the controversial issue of fracking tomorrow.

In February, Butte County's Water Commission made a recommendation to have the fracking issue transferred over to the county's Development Department, as it has to do with land-use. Meanwhile, an anti-fracking committee is in the middle of their campaign to put a fracking ban on the November ballot. Tomorrow, the county comes one step closer to county fracking regulation.

“[As a county we should ask] do we want this here?” said Frack-Free Butte County member Joni Stellar. “And take time out to say that, assess it, and proceed from there.”

And that's exactly what Tuesday's intent is at the Butte County Board of Supervisors meeting, as they discuss conditional use permits for well-stimulation techniques--otherwise known, as fracking.

“The conditional use permit requirement are for those uses that may not be app for every location or every circumstance,” said Pete Calarco, Butte County’s Development Services Assistant Director.

Some, like members of Frack-free butte county, say it's not appropriate.

“I want the people of Butte County to know their water is at risk,” Stellar said.

Stellar said fracking is, or should be, a non-partisan issue, as everyone uses California's precious groundwater.

She said fracking uses toxic chemicals to create a sort of toxic stew, and injecting things into the ground makes things slippery.

“[Extreme extracting methods are] wreaking havoc on the air and the communities and the earth, the earthquakes…and what do they do with the waste?” Stellar said.

“From what we've been told and the information we have is that fracking is not conducive to the geology we have here,” said Paul Gosselin, Butte County’s Water and Resource Conservation Director.

Gosselin said conditional use permits are a precautionary step that gives the county more discretion as the state considers more permanent regulation under SB-4.

Meanwhile, Joni Stellar is thinking about her grandkids.

“I want the world to be the best we can have it to pass on to them, and frankly we've done a horrid job,” Stellar said.

The county said that although there are 26 natural gas wells in production, there has not been a conditional use permit issued for extraction in more than 25 years.


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