July 27 2016
California's Alameda County, across the bay from San Francisco and home of the University of California-Berkeley, has banned hydraulic fracking.
The only hitch: There is no hydraulic fracking in Alameda County, and there never has been.
So forget those visions (delightful as they might seem) of geologists blowing up the ultra-liberal UC-Berkeley campus to get at the oil and gas.
As the DC Examiner reports:
Alameda County has only one active oil field, and no one fracks there to extract oil.
But what Alameda County does have is plenty of self-satisfied environmentalist virtue--and where there is virtue, there is bound to be virtue-signaling. And nothing signals environmentalist virtue so strongly as a completely unnecessary fracking ban:
Five different California counties also banned fracking, but none of them produce much oil.
Furthermore, not only are those local fracking bans strictly symbolic, but even if they addressed a real-life issue, they would be completely useless:
This strategy has been entirely unsuccessful in other states, as the oil and gas industry has historically been regulated by the state, not local, government.
Courts have universally found that the state governments have the legal authority to grant fracking permits over the objections of local governments. Colorado’s Supreme Court struck down local fracking bans in early May, a federal judge did the same thing in West Virginia in mid-June as did a Louisiana’s Supreme Court. Courts universally find state governments have the legal authority to grant fracking permits over the objections of local governments.
But you know--that fracking ban probably makes the environmentalists of Alameda County feel good about themselves--so what the hay?