Notching another victory for the growing national anti-fracking movement, voters in Butte County, California on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a measure that bans the controversial oil and gas drilling process in their communities.
Measure E won with 71 percent of the vote, making Butte the fourth California county to pass such a measure, following Mendocino, San Benito, and Santa Cruz counties, and adding to the growing list of states and municipalities across the nation that have come out against fracking.
Agriculture is the top industry in Butte County, which sits just north of Sacramento. Proponents of the measure argued that threatening the aquifers with toxic fracking chemicals would destroy the “lifeblood” of the local economy.
“We are thrilled that Butte County voters decided to protect our clean water and almond and walnut farms from fracking,” said Dave Garcia, of Frack-Free Butte County. “We’re proud that we can hand down a community that’s green and pristine to our children and grandchildren.”
Despite the fact that a majority of Californians oppose the practice, Democratic Governor Jerry Brown has embraced fracking in the state. What’s more, two federal agencies late last month quietly lifted the ban on offshore fracking in the waters off the California coast.
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