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An effort to halt the oil extraction process known as fracking failed in the California Senate as lawmakers rejected a bill that would have banned the practice until a state-commissioned study proves it is safe.

Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, argued that her measure amounted to hitting "pause" on an oil extraction method that has raised concerns among environmentalists as it's become more common in California and across the nation. Opponents argued that Senate Bill 1132 didn't make sense because California passed a law last year to regulate hydraulic fracturing. Abandoning the practice, they said, would cause some people to lose their jobs.

Mitchell's bill failed when four business-friendly Democrats voted against it and three more Democrats withheld their votes. Its defeat illustrates the influence big business has on moderate Democrats in the California Legislature. Some of the same lawmakers also cast swing votes in the Senate Wednesday that killed bills to limit evictions in San Francisco and require the labeling of genetically-modified foods.

SB 1132 is eligible for reconsideration Thursday.

PHOTO: Fracking wells run day and night near Jack and Shafter roads in Shafter on June 10, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/José Luis Villegas.



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