Lawmakers advance bill to halt oil fracking

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Bills to halt hydraulic fracturing in California pending a review of environmental and health impacts have passed their first legislative hurdle.

The Assembly Natural Resources Committee advanced three measures Monday that would prohibit fracking temporarily. The drilling technique involves blasting water, sand and chemicals into deep rock formations to release oil or natural gas.

The bills call for an advisory committee to review health impacts and for lawmakers to approve rules for how fracking can occur.

Environmental advocates say there's too little information on the long-term consequences of hydraulic fracturing. Industry officials cite decades of using the technique in California and elsewhere without any contamination incidents.

The measures — AB649, AB1301 and AB1323 — cleared the committee on identical votes of 5-3. Republicans opposed the bills.

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