Monterey County residents meet to discuss Measure Z, which bans fracking

Debate over anti-fracking measure ahead of election

SALINAS, Calif. - Monterey County is one of the top 10 oil producing counties in the state, and that led to a heated debate Monday night about fracking and the vote this November.

"Vote 'Z', zero fracking, zero waste water injection, and zero job loss," said proponent James Egleston, a volunteer for Protect Monterey County.

Proponents of Measure Z say fracking is high risk, and they're not willing to let future generations pay for any mistakes.

"I care deeply about the future of my children, my grandchildren and their children. I fear for their safety given these unparalleled, risky oil operations that are going on today," Egleston told the audience.

But opponents say the measure to ban fracking in the county is deceptive and will hurt the oil industry.

'What this measure does is it will shut down the oil and gas industry in Monterey County. And that will be devastating,' said opponent David Armanasco from Monterey County for Energy Independence.

Still, some say the effect to the area's water quality and supply, along with the environmental and health concerns would be more devastating. The area is also prone to earthquakes.

"Fracking along the Salinas River and injecting contaminated fracking fluid into the water basin in the most seismically active oil field in America is a formula for economic disaster for the salad bowl of America," measure proponent Ed Mitchell said.

Opponents argue that base on the current state of the fields in San Ardo, there is no reason to believe that those concerns will manifest into real problems.

"There are cattle that graze right next to, and in, some of area where the oil is drawn, and there has never been a problem," Armanasco said.

Support for a ban seemed to have the majority at Monday night's meeting.

Margaret Rebecky traveled from San Benito County, where a ban is already in place.

"If they are not fracking, then why does it bother them to put it on the ballot?" Rebecky asked. "Like San Benito County, Santa Cruz, New York State banned fracking, so we eventually would like to ban fracking in the state of California."

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