Dec 19 2012

Environmentalists Critical of California’s Newly Released Draft Regulations on Fracking

Eighteen thousand acres of oil leases were auctioned off by the Obama Administration last week to oil companies intent on starting hydraulic fracturing or fracking in Central California. The land, which is dotted with vineyards and cattle ranches and is home to several different endangered species is also the location of the Marcellus Shale, one of the largest shale oil deposits in the country.

While environmental experts voice grave concerns over the problematic practice of fracking, whereby a high pressure concoction of toxic chemicals are injected into the earth to release oil and gas from rock formations, the Federal Government maintains no oversight over the types of chemicals companies use. California joined a list of several other states yesterday by finally releasing a draft of its fracking regulations in anticipation of the start of more drilling.

According to the draft regulations, California, the nation’s third largest oil producing state, will require oil companies to report their fracking plans 10 days before the start of drilling and companies would be exempt from revealing their fracking chemicals if they were considered “trade secrets.” Companies would also be required to post the fracking location and list of chemicals on an online database.

Environmentalists are denouncing the regulations as too weak. Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity says, “These draft regulations would keep California’s fracking shrouded in secrecy and do little to contain the many threats posed by fracking. The rules are going to have to be completely rewritten if the goal is to provide real protection for our air, water and communities.”

But Governor Brown’s Administration sees few problems with the controversial practice and Tim Kustic the state’s oil and gas supervisor with the California Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources says, “There is no evidence of harm from fracking in groundwater in California at this point in time.”

GUEST: Bill Allayaud, California Director of Government Affairs at the Environmental Working Group

Visit www.ewg.org for more information.

Click here to read the text of the draft regulations.

From the website of the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources:

Members of the public who wish to comment about the “discussion draft” of regulations are invited to email comments@conservation.ca.gov

If you wish to subscribe to a mailing list for information about the ongoing process of developing hydraulic fracturing regulations, click here.

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