Fracking... In Los Angeles? Yes-- And It Must Be Stopped
You may have read that Boehner is promising his oily allies an effort to gut the Department of the Interior's modest fracking regulations-- despite new findings in Ohio that show, conclusively, that fracking there has triggered over 100 earthquakes.
A single fracking wastewater well triggered 167 earthquakes in and around Youngstown, Ohio, during a single year of operation.Let's see... earthquakes... where is earthquake danger the greatest? Ah, yes... energy lobbyists in Sacramento are trying to bribe corrupt legislators to make a fracking bill, more Big Oil-friendly... and more dangerous for Golden State residents.
That’s according to a study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research by Won-Young Kim, a researcher at Columbia University. Earthquakes had never been recorded at Youngstown before 2010. Then, at the end of that year, frackers started pumping their waste from Marcellus Shale drilling projects into the 9,200-foot deep Northstar 1 injection well. Within two weeks, the area had experienced its first quake.
From January 2011 to February 2012, the area was jangled by an average of nearly 12 earthquakes every month. Many of them were imperceptible to residents, but they grew in intensity over time and ranged up to a home-rattling magnitude-3.9 temblor on the final day of 2011. That was one day after the injection well was last used for dumping waste; the Ohio Department of Natural Resources had ordered it shut down because of the escalating flurry of earthquakes. By that time, 495,622 barrels of wastewater had been crammed into it.
...The discovery builds on a growing body of scientific evidence linking the use of fracking wastewater injection wells to earthquakes. That includes a string of quakes in central Oklahoma in late 2011, including the most powerful ever recorded in the state, a frightening magnitude 5.7.
A formidable energy lobbying group has been pushing to relax permitting requirements in a bill to regulate hydraulic fracturing, a move advocates say would undercut the type of environmental review the bill seeks to establish.Here in L.A., two City Councilmen, Paul Koretz and Mike Bonin, both West Side liberals, have proposed an outright ban on fracking in Los Angeles. They frack in L.A.? You bet. The Inglewood Oil Field between Baldwin Hills and Century City has been subjected to fracking to squeeze more oil out of dead wells, despite the dangers to city residents and to the water supply.
...All but one of those bills expired amid strenuous opposition from the energy industry. Senate Bill 4, by Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, has passed the Senate and awaits an Assembly floor vote.
The bill would have energy companies inform communities about planned fracking projects, mandate more disclosure of the type of chemicals used for various fracking jobs and create a permitting system for fracking-- triggering the type of environmental review associated with conventional oil and gas wells that currently require permits.
Now, with the window to send bills to the governor rapidly narrowing, the industry has begun lobbying legislators over the environmental review the bill would impose on fracking jobs. Industry representatives have warned that those requirements would bog down new projects, potentially entangling them in time-consuming litigation brought via the California Environmental Quality Act, according to several environmental groups that have sounded the alarm about the late lobbying effort.
The Western States Petroleum Association, a prominent trade group, "is getting traction with Democrats with this scare tactic of a de facto moratorium by there being an (environmental impact review) requested by environmental groups on every single well," said Bill Allayaud, a lobbyist for the Environmental Working Group.
Amendments to the bill accepted on Friday offer a framework to issue "statewide programmatic environmental impact reports"-- essentially broader reviews that would negate the need for a well-by-well process.
...[T]he association has written amendments that would remove language mandating a fracking permit, instead stipulating that companies would need to provide notice of the wells they plan to frack. That would be tantamount to removing environmental review, environmental groups say.
"When you ask to remove a permit from regulations, what that does is it creates a CEQA exemption," said Jena Price, a lobbyist for the California League of Conservation Voters.
Councilman Paul Koretz called it and a related method that dissolves underground rocks using acid and water "extreme methods of extraction" that can't be safely regulated. With oil companies gearing up to expand fracking activities across the state, it's time for Los Angeles to ban it altogether, he said.
"If a group of people poisoned millions of gallons of California's water while no one was looking we would label it terrorism and call out the troops,'' Koretz said at a morning news conference announcing the moratorium plans. "Yet that's what's happening with fracking right now in California."
Koretz and Councilman Mike Bonin introduced a proposal that would outlaw fracking and related methods such as "acidizing" by changing the city's zoning laws. The measure was referred to the council's Planning and Land Use Management Committee for review and public hearings.
Anti-fracking activists say chemicals such as benzene and hydrochloric acid used in fracking and acidization are harmful to public health... Angela Johnson Meszaros, who spoke at the news conference as general counsel for the Los Angeles chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility, said the potential health consequences are undeniable. She called the techniques "threats that are completely unacceptable."
"Here we are risking people's health and safety in order to extract oil which we know will cause nothing but harm to health and to our environment."