Alameda County is now the first Bay Area county to ban fracking, and supporters say it could have a domino effect across the region and the state.
County supervisors unanimously approved the ban at their Tuesday meeting.
Fracking is the process of extracting oil and gas from the earth using high-pressure water mixtures. Activists have raised concerns that it could cause environmental damage such as groundwater contamination.
"I am deeply relieved that the Board of Supervisors passed the fracking ban," anti-fracking activist Karen White said in a statement issued after Tuesday's vote. "We've taken a step that will protect everyone in Alameda County, especially our children and grandchildren, from toxic chemicals."
The county’s lone oil generator, E&B Natural Resources, doesn’t use the controversial oil extraction technique in Alameda County, and company leaders said they don't plan to. But supporters say the ban is both preventative and symbolic of the county’s stance on environmental issues.