Butte County, CA passes a pointless law to ban fracking, where fracking isn't being done

Butte County in 2005, with a view of the Sutter Buttes in the background Image: Wikipedia
Butte County in 2005, with a view of the Sutter Buttes in the background. Note the geology isn’t big on oil and gas potential.  Image: Wikipedia

WUWT readers may recall that I wrote an analysis in 2014 that was provided to the Butte County Board of Supervisors: A report on the hyperbole behind the politicized issue of ‘fracking’. In it, I wrote:

The process is safe, and continues to be proven as such.

For example, on May 13th 2011, the New York Times reported:

Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” got a clean bill of health this week in the first scientific look at the safety of the oil and production practice.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2011/05/13/13greenwire-baffled-about-fracking-youre-not-alone-44383.html

And also:

The British also aren’t worried about it:

The British government’s health agency is the latest body to give fracking a clean bill of health, in a move that should galvanize the country to act on its considerable reserves of shale gas. Reuters reports:

Public Health England (PHE) said in a review that any health impacts were likely to be minimal from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which involves the pumping of water and chemicals into dense shale formations deep underground….

“The currently available evidence indicates that the potential risks to public health from exposure to emissions associated with the shale gas extraction process are low if operations are properly run and regulated,” said John Harrison, director of PHE’s center for radiation, chemical and environmental hazards.

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/31/us-britain-health-fracking-idUSBRE99U0KX20131031

RELEVANCE: The EPA sees no threat to drinking water in studies they have conducted. Neither do the British.

There is a huge financial incentive by drilling companies to manage fracking water properly or face fines. Newer formulations of fracking fluid are safe enough to actually drink.

Scientific studies show the process is safe.


EPA itself grudgingly confirmed in 2015 that fracking does not contaminate groundwater, barring mishap or poor practice.


About a year later, in January 21, 2016, the EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board endorsed the agency’s findings and recommended its conclusions be stated less ambiguously. I think the agency is still trying to get out of that.


The study had further corroborated a study by the U.S. Department of Energy in which the researchers injected tracers into the hydraulic fracturing fluid, with no observable groundwater contamination after twelve months’ monitoring. It also confirmed reports by the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Govern­ment Accountability Office, Duke University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale University, the University of Colorado, and the Groundwater Protection Council – to name just a few.

I concluded with:

A ban probably won’t matter much in the scheme of production, but if passed it will be used as a political bandwagon tool.

A fracking ban will be just about as useless as the infamous “nuclear weapons ban” in Chico, but it will make some emotional folks feel good about themselves.

If I were to be in your position, I’d put it up to a vote of the people of Butte County, rather than approve a ban outright. I think you’ll find it has about as much support in the citizenry as the ill-fated attempt to ban Genetically Modified Food (GMO’s) a few years back.

Don’t believe the absurdity of a nuclear weapons ban? Here is the language:

No person shall produce, test, maintain, or store within the city a nuclear weapon, component of a nuclear weapon, nuclear weapon delivery system, or component of a nuclear weapon delivery system under penalty of Chapter 9.60.030 of the Chico Municipal Code

Well, surprise. Emotion trumps science once again. Both newspapers in town endorsed the idea of banning fracking, both saying essentially “protect our water, just in case”. The alternative weekly would have endorsed it anyway, since it is a liberal cause. They did a story on Gasland producer Josh Fox visiting town, who outright lied to produce some scenes in the film Gasland.

He’s stopping in Chico because he considers it a “hot spot”—mostly because of Measure E, which, if approved by voters on June 7, would ban fracking in Butte County.

“We’re doing the tour to energize the movement against fossil fuels,” Fox said. “We’re going places that are in the thick of the fight, whether it’s a fight against oil pipelines, bomb trains, offshore drilling, onshore drilling, fracking or mountaintop removal for coal.”

Right, it’s not about saving the water table in Butte County, it’s about the “the movement against fossil fuels”.

The alternative weekly, that bastion of “medical marijuna” advertising, the Chico News and Review, had this to say about Measure E:

Measure E: Yes. This is an easy one. Whether or not the local geography is conducive to hydraulic fracturing, the latest research concludes that fracking can, indeed, contaminate groundwater. Let’s also remember that there’s a fracked well in Glenn County. Simply put, we cannot allow the Tuscan Aquifer—the source of our drinking and ag water—to be jeopardized now or ever by fracking.

Source: https://www.newsreview.com/chico/endorsements/content?oid=21070584

But the newspaper of record, The Chico Enterprise Record, where they actually have trained journalists who should have been able to sniff out that this is nothing more than an emotional movement in response to a trumped up movie, fell for it too.

I’m terribly disappointed in the ChicoER editorial board, who usually has the intelligence to see through such emotionally based measures, like they did some years ago when a bunch of the same liberal cabal got together and tried to ban GMO foods. The ER had some sense then, sense enough to recommend against passage, and that this was an unnecessary law. But in the matter of fracking, I’m particularly disappointed with ER Editor David Little, who allowed what I consider to be a flippant and self-contradictory editorial to be published on the issue, saying:

Editorial: Fracking ban makes more sense than the alternative

We’re not sure a ban on hydraulic fracturing is necessary in Butte County. A lot of political capital could be spent trying to outlaw every boogeyman that’s out there.

That said, a citizen initiative has resulted in the question going to county voters on June 7, so we all have to answer a straightforward question: Should fracking be banned in Butte County?

We think it should, and recommend a “yes” vote on Measure E.

Source: http://www.chicoer.com/opinion/20160531/editorial-fracking-ban-makes-more-sense-than-the-alternative

Really? Recommending something you aren’t sure of, something your admit is akin to a “boogeyman”? Once again, stupidity trumps science. Einstein said it best.

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.- Albert Einstein

Source:  http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/alberteins100015.html

The result: it passed. Here’s the story from this morning’s paper:

Despite zero oil or natural gas companies seeking to use hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” in Butte County, the practice is no longer allowed in the county thanks to Measure E.

With 129 of 140 precincts reporting, Measure E was passing with 71.46 percent in favor and 28.54 percent opposed.

“We’re really thrilled that it’s going to pass and we’re really glad that the residents of Butte County are concerned about their water,” said Dave Garcia, spokesperson for the advocacy group Frack-Free Butte County.

The group held an election-night party at Round Table Pizza on Pillsbury Road in Chico, where Garcia said people were excited when early results were published online.

“Yeah, it was really wild and crazy there, especially when we found out we were almost ahead at 71 percent or so,” he said from the pizza parlor.

Source: http://www.chicoer.com/government-and-politics/20160607/marijuana-restrictions-fracking-ban-pass

As I’ve said before, I have no financial interest in the outcome, but that didn’t stop the leader of this movement (Dave Garcia) from publicly accusing me of being in the pay of “big oil” on a local Facebook forum simply because I hold an informed opinion, even though I’ve never taken a dime from oil or gas interests. It’s typical for the left to attack the person with emotional poison, rather than the person’s arguments, when they know they can’t win the argument on facts alone.

So now, two things will happen:

  1. The Butte fracking ban will be used to try to get it passed in other counties citing “see, Butte County did it and they don’t even have fracking going on there!”.
  2. Butte County will be held up as a place that has not one, but TWO incomprehensibly stupid laws.

Way to go, emotionalists.

Note: within 15 minutes of publication, this story was edited for a few punctuation, spelling, and grammar errors. The scope of the content remained unchanged.

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June 8, 2016 10:04 am

“component of a nuclear weapon, … or component of a nuclear weapon delivery system ”
Aluminum is used in the making of both nuclear weapons and nuclear weapon delivery systems.
Did they just ban aluminum?

george e. smith
Reply to  Anthony Watts
June 8, 2016 10:51 am

So trucking is not aloud in Chico ! Not a whole lot of shipping going on in Chico, so no need to band that particular NW delivery system.

george e. smith
Reply to  Anthony Watts
June 8, 2016 10:57 am

Hey, if you can pass a law that declares that the value of Pi shall be 3.0 , then you can legislate anything. Common sense just isn’t all that common.

Reply to  Anthony Watts
June 8, 2016 11:02 am

Common high explosives and propellant are nuclear weapon components.
A backpack, suitcase or compact car can be a nuclear weapon delivery system. For that matter, so are 6″ artillery projectiles. Dunno if the local Butte County National Guard depots have any 155 mm howitzers, but they well might. The US Army used to deploy the Davey Crockett atomic recoilless rifle on a jeep. Its teams joked that it was the first weapon system with a kill probability of 2.0.

Reply to  Anthony Watts
June 8, 2016 11:05 am

Also, beryllium, which is ubiquitous due to its many applications, is also a nuclear weapon component. It’s used as a neutron generator to initiate fission, rather than relying on a passing cosmic ray at the right instant.

george e. smith
Reply to  MarkW
June 8, 2016 10:46 am

Well Butte County has already banned cow tipping, so what else is there to do to improve things, besides unfrackation ??
As for me, I’m against ALL tipping. I believe people should be paid a fair price to do what they are being paid to do. I don’t need to be paid protection money to properly perform what my employer pays me to do.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  george e. smith
June 8, 2016 11:39 am

Let’s hope your next server doesn’t hear about this comment. A little extra fluids may make it into your meal.

Reply to  george e. smith
June 8, 2016 11:59 am

Cows work hard for those tips, George.

Bubba Cow
Reply to  george e. smith
June 8, 2016 1:41 pm

You bet, TA !!

george e. smith
Reply to  george e. smith
June 8, 2016 2:07 pm

Well Tom you obviously didn’t read all of what I wrote. I grew up in a society where tipping is considered an insult, and people take pride in what they do for a living, and they are in fact paid a living wage to do it.
And your second sentence simply makes my point, as to why I consider it a pernicious pestilence.
I pay over 60 cents on every dollar I earn, in direct taxes, before I even get to spend one red cent, and I’ve got to pay the restaurant’s overly priced menu price, and then also pay his employees, and then pay their taxes as well, while they enjoy tax free mordida. Yes I know the IRS figures a tip income for them, but just a fraction of what they expect to get.
The day I landed on the docks in Manhattan, I was standing under a sign, waiting to retrieve my two boxes that came off the ship, that were sitting two feet away from me on the other side of a chicken wire fence. I had to wait until some “dock employee” dragged those two boxes six feet from the inside of the gate to the outside of the gate, which I could have done all by myself, and then he held out his hand for a “tip”.
Oh that sign; there was one of them every 20 feet along the dock. It read ” NO Tipping !”
Welcome to America. Back then, 10% was considered an excellent tip for excellent service. These days, the restaurant adds on 18% for a “gratuity”, and considers one a piker if you don’t pay 25%. And no, I never eat out, except at fast food places, unless my wife insists on it. I compensate, by downsizing what I order.
If I don’t do the best job I know how to do, I get fired. But your comment Tom, demonstrates why the USA is in real trouble. Everyone has their hand out waiting for Bernie Sanders’ free stuff.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  george e. smith
June 8, 2016 6:50 pm

Well George a servers job is to take your order and bring it to you when it is ready. Simple enough. Most servers in real restaurants go above and beyond because they know extra service will be returned in kind with a gratuity, not tip, gratuity. It is a capitalistic incentive that works quite well. Restaurants that add gratuities to the bill do so because of past experiences with people who refuse to acknowledge the system. There is an old saying in American restaurants:
“What’s the difference between Canadians and canoes? Canoes tip.”

Reply to  george e. smith
June 9, 2016 7:07 am

If you tip a cow just a little does it produce “lean” milk?

Reply to  MarkW
June 8, 2016 11:10 am

I wonder if they’ve banned smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as well. Both contain a terribly minute amount of radioactive material as part of their functionality. About ten thousand or so would be needed to do something annoying with, but it is possible.

Reply to  RHS
June 8, 2016 1:06 pm

David Hahn, the nuclear boy scout, used smoke detectors, lithium batteries and lantern mantles, among other items. He was successful enough to have radiation picked up by his geiger counter five houses down from his mother’s house were he lived. That’s pretty successful. Grant it, he was very very smart, but he did it. He also ended up costing a bundle in cleanup by the EPA. I’m sure someone else could do it again if they wanted.

Reply to  RHS
June 9, 2016 9:40 am

You know, if you bang two sticks together, all the tigers will stay away.

Reply to  MarkW
June 8, 2016 12:41 pm

also, critically important to the development of such things, is intelligence.
expect another law…

Reply to  MarkW
June 8, 2016 12:46 pm

Its worse than that. They’ve banned the entire periodic table of the elements.
Isn’t Chico a college town? Embarrassing.

george e. smith
Reply to  Doonman
June 8, 2016 2:13 pm

Everything is poisonous except Oxygen and Calcium, and even Oxygen is toxic in larger amounts.
Argon in the atmosphere is about the only safe atmospheric component, so long as you don’t concentrate it too much to the detriment of the Oxygen percentage.

Reply to  MarkW
June 8, 2016 1:32 pm

Environmentalism is a religion. Liberalism is a mental disorder (thank you Michael Savage).
Remember those facts, and you can always unravel such madness as this.

george e. smith
Reply to  MarkW
June 8, 2016 1:40 pm

“”””””….. 1.The Butte fracking ban will be used to try to get it passed in other counties citing “see, Butte County did it and they don’t even have fracking going on there!”. …..”””””
Who would want to waste time looking for any energy in a county full of really stupid people ??
Just imagine; the people of North Dakota can afford to ship sea water to Bismarck, in the trunk of a fleet of Lexusi or BMers and desalinizate it, using evaporation and condensation (in equal amounts), and fill their own home made reservoirs with it, using their fracking oil profits to pay for it, and more of the fracking oil to cook the salt water.
And buy ice cream for every school child every day.
You have to be dumb beyond redemption to vote yourself into community poverty, for NO good reason; not even any no good reason.

Tom Halla
June 8, 2016 10:05 am

I think its the malign influence of Cal U, Chico. Students like radical causes, and this is one of the latest ones.

June 8, 2016 10:14 am

Oregon is scrambling to catch up with that idiocy by aiming to ban oil shipment by rail. In the wake of a suspicious “accident” that resulted in no injury to the environment or humans the Governor of the State is sniffing in that direction and today the “block the tracks” demonstrators start. “Progressives” are feeling a sense that they may be able to command a juggernaut of environmentalism all the way to the white house.

Reply to  fossilsage
June 8, 2016 10:53 am

Oregon has already blocked “death trains” of coal from Wyoming and Montana to the Columbia River at the Port of Morrow, near the Boardman power plant.

Rhoda R
Reply to  Gabro
June 8, 2016 3:28 pm

Is that even legal? Doesn’t that violate the Commerce clause of the Constitution?

Reply to  Gabro
June 9, 2016 1:03 am

Simple, have the energy suppliers agree to ship no energy into the state for a week.
The “gang green” might just find themselves mighty unwelcome after that.

Reply to  Gabro
June 9, 2016 9:06 am

Rhoda, it’s only illegal when a judge says it’s illegal.
In England there have been recent cases where trespassing and vandalism were excused because of the “climate emergency”.

Reply to  fossilsage
June 8, 2016 1:38 pm

One of the starry eyed once laid down across the tracks to stop a Navy weapons train in Oakland, and paid for such valor with his legs. If it happened today to stop an oil train, Obummer would award him the Medal Of Honor.

Mark from the Midwest
June 8, 2016 10:15 am

A ban on nuclear weapon delivery systems? … Why no officer, that’s just a test vehicle for Amazon “less-than-an-hour” delivery service …

June 8, 2016 10:17 am

Just two incomprehensibly stupid laws? That is a lot better than most places…

Reply to  Craig
June 9, 2016 1:32 pm

It will have one good effect…
There is a natural gas field all over the central valley. It is richer further south where sediments thicken.
So this law assures the folks in Sutter and Yolo and even Colusa counties will get all the profit from that gas, and Butte residents get no royalties. IF you can’t develop a well by law, you can’t claim a royalty stake. Zoning laws are used to prevent city residents from claiming a share already… I’ve driven past gas wells south and west of Butte for about 50 years…

Bob Burban
June 8, 2016 10:22 am

In a high-seismic zone populated by active volcanoes, you’d think there might be other things for the citizens on Northern California to worry about.

Paul of Alexandria
Reply to  Bob Burban
June 10, 2016 8:12 pm

Just have Butte declare volcanoes illegal.

June 8, 2016 10:22 am

They should pass a ban on unicorn hunting while they’re at it.

June 8, 2016 10:22 am

It’s all about optics. It seems to me, most governments are not interested in doing anything really productive. They are only interested in the illusion of being productive. “Look! We passed a law!”

george e. smith
Reply to  Cam_S
June 8, 2016 10:54 am

Not much optics involved in passing a law; and looking has precious little optics.

Brian R
June 8, 2016 10:41 am

“No person shall produce,…store within the city,,,nuclear weapon delivery system, or component of a nuclear weapon delivery system under penalty of…..”
So the city of Chico has banned all transportation? A car could be used to “Deliver” a nuclear weapon. A truck, or bus or even a train could all be used to “deliver” a nuclear weapon.
Stupidity knows no bounds.

June 8, 2016 10:42 am

Well, I am currently at a frack site, not in California, where I am getting a crash course in fracking. The learning curve is steep. It’s interesting to see how it’s done. No politically motivated emotional BS here. Just a bunch of folks happy to have a job and, with the price of oil going up, looking forward to more work.

Tom in Denver
June 8, 2016 11:21 am

This takes about as much commitment as me giving up cheap tequila for lent every year.
If they wanted to make a statement, they could ban the possession or transport of hydrocarbons, energy created from hydrocarbons, or any products that required hydrocarbons to manufacture or transport.
Until then they are just hypocrites passing a meaningless law, then driving their Volvo’s and Subaru’s home from work.

June 8, 2016 11:35 am

Nothing better than the emotionally hysterical term bomb train. Holy crap liberals are stupid.

June 8, 2016 11:36 am

Does this mean that water wells cannot be hydrofracced. The procedure is done on aquifers that have plenty of water but insufficient flow for a high flow well, such as a water company well. The procedure is also done on hydrothermal wells for the same reasons. Mebbe they will call it water well stimulation and avoid the negative word.
If it quacks like a duck …
Chico = small in Spanish.

Walter Sobchak
June 8, 2016 11:39 am

My proposal is that any jurisdiction that bans fracking should not be allowed to purchase oil or gas in interstate commerce. They should be allowed to benefit from something they won’t allow.

Reply to  Walter Sobchak
June 8, 2016 12:25 pm

Good start. Also extend that ban to any jurisdiction that doesn’t permit drilling or mining in general.

Tom in Florida
June 8, 2016 11:41 am

The really sad thing of the nuclear ban in Chico was any violation, if i recall correctly, was a $1000 fine. So if that is correct and you set off a nuclear device in Chico, be prepared to pay.

Reply to  Tom in Florida
June 8, 2016 12:26 pm

“Honest officer! I didn’t know it was illegal since there’s no other city which has that law. I promise I won’t do it again.”
You might be able to plea-bargain the fine down to $50.
H.R. (Always the optimist)

Reply to  Tom in Florida
June 8, 2016 3:20 pm

I don’t comment often… but Tom in Florida, I had to let you know… you made my day!

June 8, 2016 11:43 am

Does California’s constitution (if they actually have one) allow counties to ban such things? What became of mineral rights?

Reply to  arthur4563
June 8, 2016 12:26 pm

Under left wing theology. Everything belongs to the government. The government is just allowing you to temporarily live there.
So long as you behave yourself and do everything the government tells you to do.

george e. smith
Reply to  MarkW
June 8, 2016 2:21 pm

Seems like you don’t own anything underneath the solid/gas interface, nor anything above it.
So you can’t grow your own vegetables unless you do it in a box above ground, and you can’t collect sunlight that lands on your property, unless you deliver it to the local utility company, who will still charge you for it.

Ernest Bush
Reply to  MarkW
June 9, 2016 8:04 am

– while the stench builds around you because the government can’t produce toilet paper, keep a sewer plant running, or grow enough food to see you are fed. And, frankly, won’t care because there are too many people around here anywhere. I’m thinking of Venezuela where a bunch of academics got into government to show us how its done.

June 8, 2016 12:04 pm

The US Constitution says Congress gets to set immigration law, yet there are plenty of ‘Sanctuary Cities’ in CA and elsewhere that have laws/rules/policies that ignore that. So why can’t Butte Co / Chico ignore any sort of restriction on what level of government has a say in mineral rights?

June 8, 2016 12:10 pm

Remember Chico banned Nuclear Weapons in the cities boundaries.

Reply to  t
June 8, 2016 12:12 pm

Oh drat you already mentioned it. I posted to fast. OH and that t should be LamontT. ::sigh::

Reply to  t
June 8, 2016 12:27 pm

Does that mean that if N. Korea decides to launch a nuke at us, they are forbidden, under penalty of law, from targeting Chico?

Reply to  MarkW
June 8, 2016 3:57 pm

It is only illegal if the North Korean nuke lands in or passes through Chico. If it does neither then there isn’t a problem as far as the Chico City Council is concerned.

Mike McMillan
Reply to  MarkW
June 8, 2016 11:47 pm

Targeting, no. But if they actually deliver, they will face a fine.
An WUWT will be running on guest bloggers.

June 8, 2016 12:17 pm

Too much time and energy wasted on a simple symbolic vote. Looks like Exxon and others already tried that play back in the 50s-70s with nothing to show. I even saw one record of a company handing over a Butte County exploration well to be recompleted as a potential water well. There are many wells in Glenn County because that area actually has a producing reservoir. Seems as though Cal State Chico puts only a fraction (if any at all) of emphasis toward research and actual science, instead fully committing to their effective curriculum of alarmism and safe spaces. These people deserve each other. Hopefully, they remain in their commune because facing facts, the real world, and alternative thinking may be too much for these unique snowflakes to handle.

Reply to  Erik
June 8, 2016 2:01 pm

Chico Sate has always been know mainly for drunkenness and an unusually large co-ed enrollment. Sounds like fun if you’re 21 with your cap on backwards, pants on the ground, and looking to “hook up”. Academics? Not so much.

Reply to  Erik
June 8, 2016 3:24 pm

Another term for ‘safe space’?
Asylum. They all need to be put in an asylum.
They might benefit, the rest of us certainly will.

Pop Piasa
June 8, 2016 12:57 pm

We midwest rural folk hope that what happens in CA, stays in CA.

Reply to  Pop Piasa
June 8, 2016 1:24 pm

Coloradans used to have that same hope.

Reply to  Greg
June 8, 2016 2:03 pm

Ditto Oregonians.

Joe Crawford
June 8, 2016 12:58 pm

As Robert A. Heinlein said: “Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.” Several years ago the Boulder (Colorado) city council banned aircraft from flying over the city at less than 2,000 feet AGL because some old lady complained about the noise of one towing a banner over the CU home coming football game. You can guess how long that lasted once the FAA found out about it… they just threatened to immediately shut down the airport.

June 8, 2016 1:01 pm

The state of Vermont did the same thing. They passed a law banning fracking in the state despite the fact that there are no known frackable reserves in the state.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Patrick Black
June 8, 2016 4:12 pm

just another ridiculous application of the precautionary principle. Think of the tax money it wasted.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Pop Piasa
June 8, 2016 4:14 pm

Did I say “application”? I meant “misapplication”.

June 8, 2016 1:02 pm

I thought “Chico” was one of the Marx brothers. I guess the name is now a category of clowns.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  tadchem
June 8, 2016 4:19 pm

Watch it, my wife’s horse is named Chico. 🙂

Reply to  tadchem
June 8, 2016 4:41 pm

It’s also Spanish for “little”. The feminine “chica” gives us “Chiquita” in the diminutive, as in Chiquita Banana. “Chiquitita” means “tiny”.

Curious George
June 8, 2016 1:10 pm

The Precautionary Principle in action. I would suggest that good citizens of Chico ban asteroid impacts within city limits.

Reply to  Curious George
June 8, 2016 2:56 pm

The good folks of Chico missed a beat when they adopted:
“No person shall produce, test, maintain, or store within the city a nuclear weapon, component of a nuclear weapon, nuclear weapon delivery system, or component of a nuclear weapon delivery system under penalty of Chapter 9.60.030 of the Chico Municipal Code…”
They forgot to include “deliver or detonate” to the list of banned activities.
That would have stopped the North Koreans from targeting their fair city for fear of violating
the municipal code.
As the law stands now the North Koreans can hit Chico without worrying about a citation.

June 8, 2016 1:11 pm

Not a big deal.
No fracking allowed in the entire State of New York!

June 8, 2016 1:36 pm

I think these sorts of bans are the only sort that should be allowed. Next I want to restrict bans on ocean drilling to mountain ranges of greater than 2000 feet elevation.

D Long
June 8, 2016 1:41 pm

Chico means ‘boy,’ as in ‘Oh boy is that stupid.’

John Loop
June 8, 2016 1:53 pm

I think this new book probably sums it up pretty well – “Moral narcissism” – all I need is the appearance of doing good. That’s all. No facts matter. I read the free pages on Amazon. Sounds like Portland banning educational materials which “mislead” on AGW arguments. Some kid should print out one of Anthony’s articles and bring it in and post it on the BB. See if he gets arrested. I may be stoopid, but these people are STUPID.

Ernest Bush
Reply to  John Loop
June 9, 2016 8:09 am

Butte stupid. Snicker.

June 8, 2016 2:02 pm

Mr Richard Fedder from Farlane NJ once asked if i ever had some Moosehead..my response was “No, but I have had some Grizzly Butte’.”
So, it just goes to show you…..there ain’t nothing like frackin’ Roseannadanna

Gary Pearse
June 8, 2016 2:28 pm

Anthony, as added ammo, fracking was invented in 1865 by a Civil War vet for enhancing production from water well. It has been used continuously since the beginning of the oil industry, known as torpedoing a well. They started with gunpowder and then switched to nitroglycerine, the latter used around the world by the industry in millions of wells – some 60% of wells globally have been fractured using torpedoing. The explosives were far more dangerous, having killed several oil drillers and done damage, too.
In 1947, at the Hugoton gas field in Kansas, hydraulic fracturing got its first test. It took a few decades to improve it but by 1980s they were using it successfully in Texas hydrocarbon shales. By 2000, it had opened up large reservoirs of formerly unproducible tight sandstone oil formations and with development of horizontal drilling, which gives long well exposure of the formation to the borehole rather than just the punch through thickness, it took off. In the past decade it has boomed in exploitation of the oil shales. It also continues to be used to enhance conventional production, too. So it has been used for 150 years and few seemed to know it until the recent boom. Suddenly you have activist promoted “problems” arise because they thought peak oil was going to be the end of oil and gas anyway – just that pesky coal…and then their marxbrothers plans were fracked.
Also, you get rural people with old failing water wells that they haven’t wanted to outlay $100,000 or so to be redrilled and the law suits start. I was an engineer on the construction of the Greater Winnipeg floodway in the early 1960s. Before the excavations began, we went to every farmer’s well within a few miles of the right of way measured the levels and gave free advice to farmers who needed a new well. Naturally the records were kept in case of problems or complaints. We drilled observation wells across and beyond the planned excavation and installed piezometers in them to monitor water levels before and after the excavation and (I believe) they continue to monitor these outwards from the “ditch” (at the time, only the Panama Canal was a bigger excavation). The oil industry in Pennsylvania (I believe it was) didn’t take this precaution and that’s where some issues arose.

Mike McMillan
Reply to  Gary Pearse
June 9, 2016 12:40 am

Thanks, good stuff to know.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
June 9, 2016 4:53 pm

Nuclear devices were used in fracking tests to liberate natural gas from 1967 to 1973; ‘Operation Plowshare’ detonated 2 devices in Colorado and 1 in New Mexico. While a technical success, no commercial production ensued and the technique was superseded by hydraulic fracturing.

June 8, 2016 2:36 pm

Who is going to be the first to propose that Butte County should ban all fossil fuels?
Go on, you know it makes sense.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  billbedford
June 8, 2016 4:32 pm

At the same time they should vote on eliminating the “e” at the end of Butte.

June 8, 2016 2:45 pm

They’re practicing to become a liberal county, something slightly at odds with the majority of residents.

Tom Judd
June 8, 2016 3:12 pm

That county should acquire the derogatory moniker: ‘The Butte of all jokes.’

June 8, 2016 3:20 pm

Most of the resistance to any kind of ‘development’, such as fracking or drilling is ultimately based on an ideology concerning ‘disturbing the environment’. So no dams, no ports, no fracking, no mines, no gas hubs, and so on. The argument is always the same, it’s not about the protecting the environment as such, but about protecting control of the environment, and protecting the institutions which protect the environment.
Trouble is, this ideology against ‘disturbing the environment’ in all instances is a fantasy, societies require these things to function. Some of these above, like most metal mines, are often then done mostly away from where people live, like in the desert, however there is actually no need for this, people ideologically just don’t like the disturbance they can create, even if there is very little, such as 10km outside a small town.
However coal mines for example, are different to metal mines; they generally need to be close to markets because of high transport costs. This partly why England and Europe had the Industrial Revolution and SE Asia didn’t, coal was close to markets in the UK and they allowed development, in China the coal was not close to markets and moreover they did not encourage middle class innovation and development.
I don’t know why this particular ideological fantasy is so prevalent in today’s world, especially the west, nor do I know how to reduce it, but the world needs such things in order to function.

Reply to  thingodonta
June 8, 2016 3:41 pm

“You’re missing the overall.” (“Deep Throat” in “All The President’s Men”) The planet savers realize perfectly well that societies require these tings to function. So now Sierra Club and others are starting to shift narrative to “Humans are the problem!” in the sense that, to save the planet, man himself must be “deselected.” Except they can’t come right and say that, they couch it in terms like “population control” and “downsizing man’s footprint” etc. To which I respond “Well, charity starts at home. Why don’t all you planet huggers start by deselecting yourselves? There’s a cliff over there, you can hold hands and step right off. Keep the line moving, folks!”

Pop Piasa
Reply to  brians356
June 8, 2016 4:52 pm

Perhaps they could be chased off a cliff by athletic young women like in Monty Python’s “The meaning of life”.

Reply to  brians356
June 9, 2016 10:14 am

Don’t worry about any backups at the cliff, they’re already preparing for their own extinction:

Perhaps the only antidote for the despair that many of us are experiencing now in light of our circumstances is to accept the growing evidence that we’re in near-term extinction, not only as individuals, but as a civilization. We need to submit ourselves to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ five stages of grieving which concludes with acceptance.
Perhaps, then, in accepting our deaths, we will come fully alive. For if it’s still possible, it is only a transformative change of this kind that can save us from our fate.</

A snippet from Tim Stevenson: Living with near-term extinction
He is a community organizer with Post Oil Solutions http://www.postoilsolutions.org
PS: Beware community organizers!

Keith Willshaw
Reply to  thingodonta
June 9, 2016 12:38 pm

Actually there was plenty of coal mining done in China long before the west began large scale mining.The worlds first know coal mine was operating in Fushan around 1000 BC. Moreover the use of Coke in iron smelting happened in China at least 500 years BEFORE the process was used in England. The problems afflicting the Chinese Industrial base were primarily political. The 19th century expansion of the Chinese coal industry was blocked as it was considered disruptive to traditional Chinese society.
Note that initially British coal mines were NOT very close to the main market which was London. The iron and steel industries of the North East, Coalbrookdale and Sheffield grew up because they were near the coal fields and ironstone mines. In 1807 the town of Middlesbrough consisted of 7 houses on an unhealthy swamp. The discovery of ironstone in North Yorkshire and coal in county Durham produced a boom town that for a while was producing a third of global iron.
British coal was being shipped all over Europe by the 18th century at low cost. The ships used by Captain Cook in his explorations were sail powered colliers which didn’t even need a port as they could sail onto a beach and unload their cargos at low tide. At its peak a quarter of all British coal was being exported.

Barry Johnson
June 8, 2016 6:30 pm

I sent a letter to both the Chico N&R and the Chico ER quoting four sources proving water is not contaminated by fracking. The ChicoER said I’d already used up my one election-related letter, and the CNR sent me a nice note stating that the 2015 EPA study you cited (and the conclusion was one of the four statements I included in my letter) was not for public citation – thus clearly demonstrating a lack of knowledge on how science works. She said I could revise the letter, and publish it later. So I deleted the (offending) EPA report, and substituted the fact that left-wing Kamala Harris, who was endorsed by the Sierra Club in her quest for US Senate, had just refused to endorse a ban on fracking.
Nonetheless, despite her promise, my letter was not published. Her claim that “the latest research concludes that fracking can, indeed, contaminate groundwater.”
This is so absurd. It exposes her as a fraud as a journalist. There is NO latest research that shows contamination from fracking. There certainly are wishful thinkers who make easily-disproved allegations – but there is no credible science. Nor has there EVER been.
I agree that David Little disappointed on this issue. I expect better from the ER.

Reply to  Barry Johnson
June 9, 2016 9:28 am

She called a friend.
That friend assured her that fracking can contaminate water.
Ergo, latest “research” proves …

Jeff of Colorado
June 8, 2016 6:48 pm

I thought there was a minor amount of oil production at the Sutter Buttes themselves.

Barry Johnson
Reply to  Jeff of Colorado
June 8, 2016 9:54 pm

Yes, but the Sutter Buttes are not in Butte County.

June 8, 2016 7:48 pm

We need sanctuary cities for those oppressed by populist ignorance and their pandering elected representatives.

June 9, 2016 4:24 am

I guess this will make them the Butte of our jokes.

Ernest Bush
June 9, 2016 7:46 am

Obviously the people of Butte County are as butt stupid as the hairy, wild-eyed, progressives along the coast. Let the puns begin.

June 9, 2016 12:32 pm

I swear the World is now run by hormonal schoolgirls. With due deference to those girls. There’s nothing wrong with being a hormonal schoolgirl when you’re at school – and are in fact hormonal – but not when you’re holding public office.

b fagan
June 9, 2016 5:38 pm

It’s not just how well the borehole is lined – what happens at the surface matters, too. Everything has to be done carefully, not just parts of the process.
New study about spilled brine in the Bakken Shale area – “Brine Spills Associated with Unconventional Oil Development in North Dakota”
“The rapid rise of unconventional oil production during the past decade in the Bakken region of North Dakota raises concerns related to water contamination associated with the accidental release of oil and gas wastewater to the environment. […] We establish geochemical and isotopic tracers that can identify Bakken brine spills in the environment. In addition to elevated concentrations of dissolved salts (Na, Cl, Br), spill waters also consisted of elevated concentrations of other contaminants (Se, V, Pb, NH4) compared to background waters, and soil and sediment in spill sites had elevated total radium activities (228Ra + 226Ra) relative to background, indicating accumulation of Ra in impacted soil and sediment. We observed that inorganic contamination associated with brine spills in North Dakota is remarkably persistent, with elevated levels of contaminants observed in spills sites up to 4 years following the spill events.”
Environ. Sci. Technol., 2016, 50 (10), pp 5389–5397
DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.5b06349
Publication Date (Web): April 27, 2016
Copyright © 2016 American Chemical Society
Dakota Resource Council article about it, with link to the paper. http://drcinfo.org/2016/04/27/widespread-contamination-nd-linked-fracking-spills/

June 9, 2016 8:50 pm
June 10, 2016 9:34 am

Meanwhile, back in UK La-la land, anti-fracking zealots are trying to overturn an approved fracking planning application because the planners didn’t consider climate change!

June 11, 2016 5:53 pm

The only potential Fracking in Butte county would be some lieberal fracking San Fran Nan. ain’t no one gonna frack that dry well in my lifetime or yours …

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