"The public tide is turning against fracking, not just in California but around the country," said the Center for Biological Diversity's Hollin Kretzmann, in a statement. "As voters from San Benito to Denton, Texas, showed, if regulators won't protect them from fracking pollution, local communities can and will use the ballot box to protect themselves."
Environmentalists have warned of the potential hazards of drilling natural gas since the ‘80s, but the extent of fracking's impact on ecosystems is unclear. As University of Wisconsin-Madison conservation biologist Sara Souther noted in August, "We know very little about how shale gas production is affecting plants and wildlife." One reason for this lack of knowledge stems from the fact that the ingredients in fracking fluids, considered proprietary chemicals by the industry, aren't always disclosed.
But, with the passing of Measure J, an unknown mixture of chemicals won't be a problem for the species in San Benito County. The county is potential habitat for a variety of animals marked on federal and state lists as endangered, including the California condor, giant kangaroo rat and San Joaquin kit fox.