The Carson City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a 45-day moratorium on new oil and gas drilling, largely due to concerns about hydraulic fracking.
The moratorium blocks Occidental Petroleum plans to start drilling more than 200 new wells. The company initially said it planned to employ fracking techniques, which inject water, sand and chemicals deep underground at high pressure. The pressure breaks apart rock in an effort to release more oil and gas.
That drew opposition from Carson community activists concerned about the potential impact of fracking on air and water quality. In recent weeks, the company has said it wouldn’t use fracking because test wells indicated that it likely would not increase production. But council members said the moratorium would give them time to consider additional regulations.
"There are too many questions, too many unknowns and too many possible bad consequences that could result from the city engaging in this activity," said Councilman Albert Robles, according to a Reuters report of the meeting.
Robles said the City Council will consider a one-year moratorium after the 45-day period is completed.
Carson’s decision follows a Los Angeles City Council's vote on Feb. 28 to pursue a moratorium on fracking and injection wells.