by Leslie Layton
Butte County planning commissioners debated last week an ordinance to ban fracking, finally tabling a measure they said might be purely symbolic.
And if an ordinance that would ban fracking in Butte County is a symbolic gesture — as some argue — the importance of the symbolism to the state’s oil-and-gas industry was clear at the Oct. 23 meeting. The Commission faced upfront industry lobbying from statewide groups opposed to a local ban.
After hearing testimony from more than 30 people, the Commission voted 4-0 to table the matter until its Dec. 11 meeting. (Commissioner Harrel Wilson was absent.) Perhaps more telling, the commissioners also voted 4-0 to pare down the draft ordinance by about 95 percent in order to consider an abbreviated version that would only ban the disposal of fracking by-products in Butte County.