What happened at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Fracking?



On Tuesday, Sept. 23, 3pm, County Board of Supervisors agenda item #30, report on hydraulic fracturing and staff recommendation, was presented to the BOS by the Planning and Building Department.



This agenda item was in response to the presentation of over 5,000 signatures from the San Luis Obispo community at large on May 20th calling on the BOS to adopt a countywide ban on hydraulic fracturing for the safety, health, environmental and economic well being of the community.



The Board instructed staff to prepare a report they would use for their response to our petition. Staff instructed to provide Board with;


  1. What is hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking)?


  1. What is the fracking potential in the County?


  1. What are the existing and proposed regulations relating to fracking?


  1. What are some of the important environmental issues?


  1. What is happening in other jurisdictions?


The report was 4 months in the making.



The chamber was nearly packed. A lot of suits in the room I had not seen before. The presentation took about 20 minutes and was preferenced with what the report WILL and WILL NOT focus on. Hydraulic fracturing is the focus and cyclic steam stimulation, waterflood injection, steam flood injection, acid well stimulation, matrix acidization, and well acidization WILL NOT be discussed.


The term hydraulic fracturing aka fracking has up and until this point and as part of the definition of what fracking is included well stimulation techniques in which high-pressure fluid is injected into a wellbore. The fracking technique is commonly applied to wells for shale gas, tight gas, tight oil. The industry claims hydraulic fracturing has been in use in California for over 60 years.



Since 1978 high-pressure steam injection and cyclic steam injection has been the primary method of extraction at the Arroyo Grande Oil Fields, AGOF. The AGOF is on the Monterey Shale, tight oil, asphalt grade oil is being extracted.


Freeport makes the claim it is not hydraulic fracturing and has no plans to do so. That is not to say they won’t if the needs suits them and more than likely given the new patent protected, water intensive, earthquake generating technology unencumbered by cost prohibitive safety and environmental laws and funded yearly by billions of taxpayers dollars, the odds are they will use every loophole handed to them on a silver platter and frack the last drop of oil right out from underneath our feet without so much as a mother may I.


And if the oil industry were held to the same standards as all other businesses operating within our jurisdiction hydraulic fracturing, cyclical steam injection, acidizating, high intensity, unconventional, processes would be a crime in violation of the Clean Air, Clean water, Safe drinking water Act and the Community right to know Act. But because they are not held to the same standards and are granted special dispensation VIA the Halliburton loophole to operate independent of the law, the community as it is represented by its governing board, knowingly assumes all the risks and bears all the burden of the industry’s activity to include spills, explosions, fires, leaks, accidents and unintended consequences.



It would be fair to ask at this point that if Freeport has

no intention of fracking why are they so concerned then with a ban?



Public comment followed the presentation. There were 52 requests to speak. And in the interest of time, Mr. Gibson offered the following format. One minute, two minute and three minute speakers starting with one-minute speakers. When all the one-minute speakers are finished the next round of speakers will have two minutes and lastly those remaining to speak for 3 minutes will be called from the remaining speaker’s slips.



With this format everyone is allowed to speak. Very curious why this format was not offered at the May 20th meeting as time was also a factor.



There was not a single speaker from the Freeport constituency at the May 20th meeting. This meeting however was teeming with very important, high ranking, titles and letters behind their name, persons. Almost like royalty. They seemed to own the room. The impression was somehow their presence projected a sense of greater importance than usual on these proceedings and worthy of special consideration, in the interest of fairness, of course.



The Board seemed duly intimidated and oddly attentive to the sheer power and force mingling amongst the rank and file and perhaps instinctively knew that limiting this crowd to 5 people and 15 minutes was not an option.



I am just hazarding a guess here and it may not be significant but it seemed at least 20 of the speakers from Freeport were there as paid employees working on company time. Just comparing loyalty factors here and what motivates people to get involved in local politics. I took time off work. Judy J got out of a sick bed, David K gave up study time. Just saying.


I waited to be called for the 3-minute segment about an hour and half into the meeting. I took the last stand on principle, appealing to the board to do the right thing and ban fracking. Foreseeing they might use staff time and expense as an excuse to delay writing a resolution I submitted a draft for their consideration, attached.


Listened to the other speakers but then had to take a breather and headed out to the lobby. I left my purse indicating, I hope, that I would be back. I took my water bottle and headed out. There were monitors in the lobby so I could still follow the proceedings. When the speakers finished and the Board was going to make a ruling I elected to remain in the lobby.



And then something rather odd happened. A man came out looking for me to tell me my keys had somehow got kicked out of my purse into the aisle and I might want to return to retrieve them. And then as if his Good Samaritan act needed justification added he had observed that I often retreat to the lobby so he knew where to find me. That was very odd since this was the first time I choose to leave and wait outside chambers. I thanked him and returned in time to hear the Board’s decision.


One by one the Board rendered their reasoning and voted unanimously 5-0 to ignore the beseeching petitioners, community members, organizations and municipalities and do nothing. Wait. Too many other more important things to do. Let’s wait and see what the State does with fracking, was their rationale.


Our health, safety, well-being and immediate concerns and fears about water and earthquakes summarily dismissed as unimportant. Clearly the Board regards approving a permit to drill 450 oil wells in our backyard as more important than our immediate need to get inoculated against the ravishes of the greed disease.


And no my keys were not in the aisle.



And yes there is more to come.



But first, Please, please try to find an hour or two somewhere to help Santa Barbara get Measure P passed. I will send how we can help and all the information immediately in a follow up email.



Ah, I can feel it, Can you feel it? All the good vibrations? The cosmos are conspiring to shower us with abundance.



Here is a link to the whole BOS meeting so you can judge for yourself. http://slocounty.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=1875



Item # 30 starts at 3:00 on the tape.




Have a spectacular week!!!



Jeanne Blackwell


SLO Clean Water Action.org


Change doesn’t just happen. It starts with an ultimatum and goes from there.


Approving Freeport would increase their water usage by 300% in a phase III drought alert where everyone is mandated to cut back by 20%. The water is coming from a well taped into the groundwater. On that issue only fracking should be ban in SLO County.  Freeport McRanRo Arroyo Grande Oil Fields usage would amount to over 8 billion gallons of water. How is this o.k? It would be criminal if there was a law against it. But alas our lawmakers are opposed to criminalize using water to manufacturer a toxic waste that is hazardous to every living thing it comes in contact with.




Newsletter # 20 We are on the Agenda!

Information on this a little slow coming forth but here it is!!  Yippee!!
Tomorrow Sept. 23 item # 30.    Submittal of a report and solicitation of possible Board direction related to Hydraulic Fracturing.    All Districts.
This item is after the recess. Board reconvenes at 1:30 item #30 will most probably not come up until around 3 pm  but must get your request to speak slip in before item # 30 comes up.  Fill the slips out and just put Item # 30 as the subject.
Be prepared to do a 1-2 or 3 minute comment. Don’t know how the Board is feeling  but we will be prepared in any event.
Speak to your concerns and what you expect the board to do.
This is my first BOS agenda item meeting also. As I understand the Planning Dept will deliver their report. Then public comment and then the Board will discuss all that was presented in open forum so we can all hear their comments and then the Board will deliver their decision and instruct staff as to what the next step is.
We of course are calling for a countywide ban.
That’s it folks. Will find out tomorrow what we are dealing and what the intentions are of this Board. They could make it real easy and instruct staff to prepare a resolution or ordinance to ban Fracking. They could ask for more reports. They could delay delay delay for whatever reason but that is all good. We will know what our next step is after we find out what we are dealing with. Just giving them a opportunity to show their true colors here. We know what we want and they can join us and we hope they do but we will not be deterred.
I will be there a little after 2:30 pm.
This is kind of exciting. I never thought I would be saying that when dealing with ‘city hall’  but we have come a long way and this is surly a step in the right direction to getting our ban. We are doing this and as a community.  FANTASTIC.  Will have some of our students returning too to speak. This is going to be a good day.
Thank you Sherri D. for reminding me about emailing the Board.
This will just take a minute and will make a difference.
If you can’t make the meeting tomorrow then do email your supervisor and let them know how you feel about fracking in SLO  and what you want them to do.
Here’s everyone’s email address. Do share this with your groups and every email list you have. Everyone needs to get there 2 cents in now. Thank you folks

San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisor

District        Supervisor                Email

1            Frank Mecham        fmecham@co.slo.ca.us

2             Bruce Gibson         bgibson@co.slo.ca.us

3             Adam Hill                ahill@co.slo.ca.us

4             Caren Ray               cray@co.slo.ca.us

5             Debbie Arnold        darnold@co.slo.ca.us

Newsletter # 19 – Updates and Newdates

First– Diablo Canyon – Update.  And again we are forever grateful to our world renowned Mothers for Peace for making this happen.

Since the explosive document charging that Diablo Canyon is vulnerable to earthquakes and should be shut down Barbara Boxer has gotten involved and delaying tactics which seem to be the hallmark of the NRC are being brought to the forefront and addressed. Here are a couple of links you can sign and share to keep the pressure on our legislators to do the right thing and get Diablo shut down.


2 :: Petitioning Nuclear Regulatory Commission –

Decommission the aging Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant


3 :: NRC: Shut Down Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant


And it also seems that our Board of Supervisors has also written a letter to the NRC asking for the documents that the NRC has conveniently neglected to respond to for weeks, months and years. You can let the Board know this kind of cooperation is much appreciated.  Here is their contact info. http://www.slocounty.ca.gov/bos.htm

Second – Reminder – Peoples Climate March – Sept. 21  Mitchell Park – 2pm. Heidi Harmon hosting.

Screen shot 2014-08-18 at 1.34.45 PM

Third – Triple Divide  documentary on Fracking Tuesday Sept. 16 7pm SLO Grange Broad Street.


Triple Divide is said to be the only documentary of its kind on the controversial subject of fracking, capable of speaking to all sides of the issue with exclusive interviews from the industry, environmental and political experts, and Americans suffering as a result of shale gas development. http://www.hopedance.org/events/icalrepeat.detail/2014/09/16/771/-/triple-divide-film-discussion?filter_reset=1

“It’s hard to imagine anyone could have a fully-informed opinion about fracking without seeing Triple Divide,” said Jed Thorp of the Ohio Sierra Club after seeing the film for the first time this summer.

Discussion after. Bob is looking for sponsors.

Maybe we need to invite our elected officials? No harm in asking. http://www.slocounty.ca.gov/Page8417.aspx

Fourth- Organization sign on letter to keep SLO frack free. A choir of soloists makes more noise than a soloist.

Click the link below to sign on.

Organization sign on letter to the Board of Supervisors to ban fracking.

Union is strength 1 min. video -cute

Will keep you updated on who has signed on.

Bob Banner- Hope Dance  got the ball rolling

Carl Meisser – Electrician

People for Faith and Justice

And just got the SLO Grange 639 to sign on.  Brought the letter up at the meeting they voted unanimously to sign it.


Thanks people.
Will deliver the letters to the BOS. TBA

Mark your Calendars

1) Triple Divide Sept 16 Grange

2) People’s Climate March Sept 21 Mitchell Park

3) BOS Sept 23 responding to our petitions- Planning dept is going to announce something.


And lastly, Want to thank all those that send me links and information that I can include in these newsletters.  Had #19 all ready to send on Monday but when I hit send the screen went black and I went white. Lost everything. Apparently I have a vintage (7 years old) machine and it is having a hard  time keeping up with the new language and just erases everything it doesn’t understand.  So, I have learned my lesson. Will put everything in Word so I have a copy and  if the formatting is a little messed up that is why.  All the links did not make it but keep those cards and letters coming.  I do appreciate them.

I have played my mom card again and oldest son is coming to the rescue and fixing me up with a newer computer soon.  Oh happy days.

p.s.s. Went to the BOS meeting Tues. Was 10 minutes late. Didn’t think it was a problem Public comment was # 27 and thought I would have time. However, they were already in Public comment. According to the rules, slips must be submitted prior to agenda item. I missed it.  Mr. Gibson explained the procedure and did say that I might not have been aware of this and therefore allowed me and one other person who signed in late to speak. That was very considerate and appreciated.

O.k. this is really the end.