Skip to main content

Good Morning California! How Long Have Gas Companies Been Fracking Around In Your Backyard?

By Theodora Filis

What most Californians don’t realize is that fracking has been taking place throughout their state for over sixty years. US towns and communities have been in the midst of an unprecedented gas drilling boom, using a process called hydraulic fracturing or "fracking." With each new drill comes frightening reports of poisoned drinking water, polluted air, mysterious animal deaths, industrial disasters, and explosions.

Fracking involves injecting thousands of gallons of water, sand, and chemicals into the earth at extremely high pressure and speeds to fracture underground shale deposits thus releasing natural gas and oil. Homeowners living near fracked wells have been complaining that their drinking water has been contaminated with methane, a key component in natural gas.

California does not track the number of fracked wells, nor their location. The state's Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) said that it "does not believe that fracking is widely used" in the state. More recently, DOGGR reported, that the practice is "used for a brief period to stimulate the production of oil and gas wells," but added in its report, that "the division doesn't believe the practice is nearly as widespread as it is in the Eastern US for shale gas production."

Today, Californians are waking up to the unfortunate reality that hundreds of locations around their state, including nearby Monterey County, have been fracked. In an article, published by Mother Jones last week, said that according to a report released by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), fracking is much more common in California than the regulators would like you to believe.

According to Mother Jones, a team of EWG investigators has unearthed dozens of industry documents and academic papers indicating that the practice has been going on in at least six California counties for 60 years or more. And evidence suggests that it's still going strong: "We asked Halliburton, 'What percentage of wells are you fracking in Kern County, for example?,'" says Bill Allayud, EWG's California Director of Governmental Affairs. "And they said 50 to 60 percent of oil wells." A 2008 paper by the Halliburton subsidiary Pinnacle Technologies detailed the widespread current use of fracking in California.

Even after sixty years, the state of California is only now learning about fracking and how attractive their land is to gas companies. Officials, in Monterey County, have given the OK for a Denver based oil company, Venoco, to drill exploratory wells in the Hames Valley, using fracking technology. Hames Valley, home to oil drilling, will now see a boom in gas drilling.

DOGGR reported it does not know where and how often fracking occurs in California because budget constraints have prevented them from developing regulations to address the practice. While the agency requires drilling permits and enforces groundwater protections, once those permits are acquired, drillers are allowed to employ techniques such as fracking to get the oil out of the ground without additional reporting.

California legislators have introduced a bill that would include some of the most stringent fracking laws in the country – if passed. The bill did get passed off the Assembly floor, last week, and is now being sent to the state Senate committee for approval.

Popular posts from this blog

US GMO Potatoes Sold As Processed Food In Australia

GM potatoes, grown in the US, can now be imported and sold as processed food in Australia. Simplot, the developer of the GM potato, is a large multinational with brands.

Australian regulators don’t test, don’t require peer-reviewed studies and never refuse GM food applications
Peer-reviewed evidence of damage from eating GM dismissed by a regulator.

FSANZ have ignored scientists warnings of potential harm. The Centre for Integrated Research in Biosafety (INBI) “predicted that dsRNA (i.e. RNAi) could be transmitted to humans through food, and that dsRNA would be sufficiently resistant to cooking and normal stomach pHs to potentially be taken up by cells or circulated through blood.

GM foods are being tested on us

You are probably eating GM food every day.

Currently, GM crops including soy, corn, canola, sugar beet and cotton, are processed into ingredients that avoid labeling in Australia. The GM potato is different. It is a whole food that will contain GM DNA and protein.
Will Simplot, the c…

Mayflower, Arkansas, Oil Spill

Under-Reported Environmental Disasters

Mayflower, Arkansas, Oil Spill

On March 29, 2013, the 65-year-old ExxonMobil Pegasus pipeline ruptured beneath a subdivision in Mayflower, Arkansas, soaking lawns and streets with an estimated 210,000 gallons of heavy toxic tar sands crude. For Mayflower's 2,200 residents, the existence of a pipeline running under their homes (and partially through the watershed that provides water to 400,000 people) came as a shock.

Considered a "major spill" by the EPA, it sickened hundreds of residents and exposed them to known carcinogens like benzene and to hydrogen sulfide, which causes respiratory illnesses.

Who's Responsible

ExxonMobil. The Pegasus pipeline was built to carry lighter oil north from the Gulf Coast. In 2006 it was repurposed to carry the far heavier bitumen south from Canada. Bitumen is so thick that it has to be heated and diluted with gas in order to flow properly. In November, PHMSA proposed fining ExxonMobil $2.6 million…

Radiation Testing on Humans in United States Widespread!

The health ramifications of human testing are unknown
Radiation Survey: Procedures
Three members of Congress are demanding answers after a St. Louis scholar’s new book revealed details of how the U.S. government sprayed, injected and fed radiation and other dangerous materials to countless people in secret Cold War-era testing. The health ramifications of the tests are unknown. Lisa Martino-Taylor, an associate professor of sociology at St. Louis Community College who wrote “Behind the Fog: How the U.S. Cold War Radiological Weapons Program Exposed Innocent Americans,” acknowledged that tracing diseases like cancer to specific causes is difficult. But three congressmen who represent areas where testing occurred — Democrats William Lacy Clay of Missouri, Brad Sherman of California and Jim Cooper of Tennessee — said they were outraged by the revelations. Martino-Taylor used Freedom of Information Act requests to obtain previously unreleased documents, including army records. She also reviewe…