Oil, gas industries fight local anti-fracking measures

Hydraulic fracturing is on some local ballots in California and Texas, and the oil and gas industries are fighting against the potential restrictions.

In California, industry has spent $7.7 million to defeat ballot initiatives in three counties that would ban the practice, also known as fracking, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. They would also ban acidizing and other “high-intensity” oil extraction methods.

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The total industry spending is more than Neel Kashkari, a Republican running to be California’s governor, has raised.

Supporters of the ballot measures say fracking poses a threat to groundwater, a valuable resource amid California’s historic drought, the Chronicle said.

But the oil industry has argued in lobbying and other forms that fracking is safe and has been used for decades in California with no harm to groundwater.

In Denton, Texas, about 40 miles north of Dallas, fracking foes and campaigners backed by oil and gas sparred outside voting locations on the last day of early voting, The Associated Press reports.

The industry argues that Denton’s proposed fracking ban would effectively ban drilling. Oil and gas companies have promised to sue if the ballot measure passes.

Exxon Mobil subsidiary XTO Energy and Enervest Operating have each donated $45,000 to a Denton pro-fracking group to fight the measure.