Unbelievably, fracking in California is unregulated by State government, although hundreds of fracked wells have been drilled in the state. “The Monterey Shale Formation, which federal energy officials estimate contains nearly two-thirds of the nation's shale oil reserves....stretches from Santa Clara County through the Central Valley to Ventura County” (Santa Cruz Sentinel, 7/13/12).
The Center for Biological Diversity, Earthworks, the Environmental Working Group and the Sierra Club have just (10/16/12) filed a lawsuit charging the State of California Dept. of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, with failing to consider or evaluate the risks of fracking, as required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
Environmental concerns about fracking include the enormous amount of water required (2 – 8 million gallons per well!), contamination of drinking water supplies, increased carbon emissions that will undermine California’s efforts to fight climate change, adverse impacts on the habitat of endangered species, fish kills and breeding grounds for mosquitoes that can transmit diseases to wild animals.
Former President Bush and Vice President Cheney made fracking exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act – an insidious move known as the Halliburton Loophole – and even now hydraulic fracking is not regulated by the EPA under Federal law. Senator Diane Feinstein supports closing that loophole through S. 587, which is awaiting action in the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
WILPF is fortunate to have two knowledgeable speakers on fracking for our Nov 20 public program.
Rose Braz coordinates the climate campaign for the CBD, including organizing against fracking in California. She is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law, and has worked both in private practice and at the United Nations International Commission of Jurists in Geneva, Switzerland. The Climate Law Institute wages innovative legal and public-pressure campaigns to limit global warming pollution and to prevent climate change from driving species extinct.
Steven Craig, former Director of the Ventana Wilderness and Land Trust, and CEQA advisor to cities and counties in central and southern California, has explored how oil and gas excavation are regulated in Monterey and San Benito Counties. Mr. Craig was part of the group that established strict excavation regulations in Monterey County, and he will be talking about how to accomplish these goals effectively, focusing on “what you can do at the local government level”, including CEQA review, and zoning ordinance revisions.
November 20 , 7 – 9 pm at the Quaker Meeting House, 225 Rooney St., Santa Cruz. Free, donations welcomed. For more information, call WILPF, 831-428-5096 . Co-sponsored by the SC chapter of the Sierra Club and Transition Santa Cruz.
Added to the calendar on Friday Nov 2nd, 2012 12:56 PM