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California | Environment & Forest Defense

Statewide Fracking Environmental Impacts Report Comments Due
by Tomas DiFiore
Wednesday Jan 15th, 2014 2:50 PM
The very real potential for cumulative impacts under the 'protected water' and 'aquifer exemptions' clause, added to the SB 4 Well Stimulation Regulations, by Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources DOGGR, after close of comments, Dec. 24, 2013 can be viewed as a lease-held lock down on future water resources of the North State and Northern Coastal Region. Anywhere in the State, where there exists a remote groundwater basin or sub-basin aquifer in close proximity to Natural Gas leases and reservoirs as in Northern California, or oil deposits off the North Coast. Once an aquifer is contaminated it can't be undone, except at great cost.
In California Under SB 4 and the SDWA, Protected Water Is The Gateway To Aquifer Exemptions

The doublespeak of 'protected water' reminds me of George Carlin:
If fire fighters fight fire, and crime fighters fight crime, what do freedom fighters fight?
'Aquifer exemptions' under the Safe Drinking Water Act, constitute a 'takings' of the 'Public Commons'.

Northern California Aquifers Risk Contamination Under SB 4 Added Language

Having watched every documentary on water management I could find on YouTube, and read countless documents, most recently a 2011 report issued by the Public Policy Institute Center, it's usually depicted as farmers against CEQA, or farmers vs fish in the rivers in the north. Never mentioned is the water use by oil and gas operations in the state. NEVER, unless that is, it is portrayed as a Technological Wonder Megastructure.

A MUST SEE topographical map of groundwater aquifer basins in California.
Figure 4.1 page 193, adjudicated basins DWR Bulletin 118 Aquifers
http://www.ppic.org/content/pubs/report/R_211EHR.pdf
505 pages full report 8 MB

Managing California’s Water From Conflict to Reconciliation
© 2011 by Public Policy Institute of California.
http://www.ppic.org/main/publication.asp?i=944

And 'aquifer exemption's are, de facto off the books water usage permits.
Overdrafting occurs by irrigation wells, and oil and gas operations wells.

DOGGR added language to the Interim Well Stimulation SB 4 package, after close of comments on December 24, 2013 that clarifies the term 'protected water' under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) which exempts fracking.

No Added Value In Added Language
“Clarification was added that an aquifer deemed exempt under the U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act is not protected water. “The text of the interim regulations with revisions highlighted can be found here.
http://www.conservation.ca.gov/dog/Documents/Final%20Interim%20Regulations%20with%20Highlights.pdf

The very real potential for cumulative impacts under the 'protected water' and 'aquifer exemptions' clause, added to SB 4, by DOGGR, after close of comments, Dec. 24, 2013 can be viewed as a lease-held lock down on future water resources of the North State and Northern Coastal Region. Once an aquifer is contaminated it can't be undone, except at great cost.

Aquifer exemptions exist under the SDWA to benefit the oil and gas and mining industry (production, waste disposal). The 'protected water' clause which is very specific under the SDWA, is the gateway to aquifer exemptions.

Basin Aquifer Exemptions DOGGR Regulations SB4
article and linked PDF (24 pages 2.5 MB)
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/01/09/18748969.php

That's the long version, here's a short one;

Remote groundwater basin and sub-basin aquifers, solely because of economics of delivery for public use, and because they occur in geologic association with oil and gas reservoirs, and particularly the unassociated natural gas basins on the North Central Coast, North Coast, and North State interior; may now, by default, be exempt from California Water Law and protections. Basin and sub-basin aquifers or portions thereof, can be delineated with private boundaries affecting surface rights, i.e., privately held boundaries of aquifers by oil and gas lease operators for use in oil or gas production, including disposal of produced water. The aquifer exemption carries with it, a permitting process for the allowance of contamination of a portion of the aquifer, or the entire basin.

Aquifer Exemptions are based first on hydrocarbon production, and weighted against the economic feasibility of hooking up to a 'public water system'.

SDWA 40 CFR 141.2 defines public water systems as those systems: that provide piped water for human consumption and are equipped with at least 15 connections or regularly serve at least 25 people.

Public water systems include the following:
Community water systems; Nontransient noncommunity water systems; Noncommunity water systems;
States are required to establish “wellhead protection areas”.

The first consideration in local governments at every level right now, at the beginning of 2014 is 'finding new sources, or a new supply' of water, fresh water, drinking water, irrigation water.

Another piece of legislation, SB 42 introduced by Senator Lois Wolk, seems to address not only neglected past and current problems regarding both quantity, quality, and supply of safe drinking water, and by extension irrigation waters, but SB 42 is also forward thinking, in it's considerations of new and potentially unforeseen impacts.

SB 4 and SB 42, would appear to be, in diametric opposition to each other regarding the future of human rights, the agricultural economy, industry, and water management in California.

The Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality, and Flood Protection Act of 2014
DIVISION 26.7. The Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality, and Flood Protection Act of 2014
http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140SB42
Under existing law, various measures have been approved by the voters to provide funds for water supply and protection facilities and programs.

This bill would enact the Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality, and Flood Protection Act of 2014, which, if adopted by the voters, would authorize the issuance of bonds in the amount of $6,475,000,000 pursuant to the State General Obligation Bond Law to finance a safe drinking water, water quality, and flood protection program.

79726.
Of the funds available pursuant to Section 79724, one billion four hundred million ($1,400,000,000) shall be allocated to each hydrologic region regions identified for purposes of integrated regional water management planning by the department based 75 percent on population and 25 percent on geographical size of the region. in accordance with the following schedule:
(1) North Coast: $66,000,000.
(2 San Francisco Bay: $196,000,000.
(3 Central Coast: $85,000,000.
(4 Los Angeles subregion: $267,000,000.
(5 Santa Ana subregion: $191,000,000.
(6 San Diego subregion: $146,000,000.
(7 Sacramento River: $117,000,000.


There are 11 hydrologic regions, to read more of this comprehensive Bill go here;
SB-42 Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality, and Flood Protection Act of 2014.
http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billAnalysisClient.xhtml


PLEASE MAKE COMMENTS on FRACKING, ACIDIZING and Well Stimulation Regulations

Department of Conservation Statewide Fracking EIR, on the impacts of the Well Stimulation Regulations, Thursday, January 16, 2014 5 pm

Comments regarding the EIR can be submitted via email to
SB4EIR [at] conservation.ca.gov

Written Scoping Comments can be sent via U.S. Mail:
California Department of Conservation
Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources
801 K Street, MS 18-00
Sacramento, CA 95814-3530


Steam Injection Is Literally Global Warming: Informational Resource
http://banslickwaterfracking.blogspot.com/

Tomas DiFiore
North Coast resident