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Apr-11-2014 10:46printcomments

Sierra Club: Fracking California... A Disaster Waiting to Happen

The environment is essential, especially since we don’t know the potential health risks associated with fracking.

Fracking in California
Photo by Shane Davis Rocky Mountain Chapter, Sierra Club

(SAN LUIS OBISPO) - Sometimes fact is so much stranger than anything even the best novelist could write. Take California, which sits atop a 1,700-square-mile oil shale deposit that is threatened to be accessed by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Fracking is an ugly, largely unregulated process that forces massive amounts of water, sand and an unknown cocktail of chemicals into the ground, the end result of which is to release more dirty fossil-fuel pollution into our environment.

As news of fracking’s destructive impacts from states like Pennsylvania and Wyoming spreads across the country, it is no wonder Californians have grown worried about what might happen in our own backyard, and are demanding a moratorium to stop any new fracking from taking place.

The state already has two of the most polluted air basins in the nation—the San Joaquin Valley and the Los Angeles region—where air pollution is responsible for more than 3,800 premature deaths and costs local economies more than $28 billion annually, according to a 2008 study by California State University, Fullerton.

At least 680 communities also currently rely on polluted water due to groundwater contamination. Add fracking to that mix, and you have a disaster waiting to happen. It promises more water contamination, more air pollution, more land destruction, and will only hasten climate catastrophe.

On the national level, fracking for oil and gas is still largely exempt from common-sense environmental laws like the Clean Air and Clean Water acts. With these loopholes in place, the industry essentially has a free ticket to frack U.S. public land without fearing any repercussions.

Up to now, protecting air and water quality has only been possible at the state and local levels, and often even that has proven to be difficult. In California, by the industry’s own estimate, more than 600 oil wells have Photo by Shane Davis, Rocky Mountain Chapter Sierra Club been fracked in the last decade, with virtually no oversight or monitoring by the agency that provides well permits.

Last year in California, legislators tried to rein in the industry’s irresponsible fracking practices by introducing bills that called for greater public notice and regulatory oversight. These proposals were quickly shot down by oil lobbyists, who represent one of the most powerful interest groups working in the State Capitol.

Then just two months ago, the New York Times published an article highlighting how the Monterey Shale formation--which stretches from the northern San Joaquin Valley into Los Angeles County, and west to the coast --could turn California into the nation’s top oil-producing region, literally changing the Golden State’s landscape overnight. The story put a national spotlight on how oil and gas companies are quickly buying up leases on federal land so they can expand oil fracking in California, just as they are doing for natural gas in Pennsylvania.

Responding to increased public concerns, California legislators sprang into action in March to establish public protections. They introduced ten bills and the environment is essential, especially since we don’t know the potential health risks associated with fracking.

Californians are among the most environmentally conscious citizens in the nation. We want clean water, clean air, and solid decreases in greenhouse gas emissions now. We want a moratorium to stop any new fracking and we want our legislature to do the right thing to protect our environment and our health.

Kathryn Phillips is the Director of Sierra Club California



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Stephen T. Harris, Californian April 12, 2014 6:52 pm (Pacific time)

The disaster that has already happened is Ms.Phillips. Her ill-informed, politically and economically motivated organization that works through fraud, deceit and conceit would have john Muir cut at the roots of these "Sierra Club" parasites that no more represent Californians than a chimp in LA's Zoo.
The Sierra Club litigation department has a budget, paid for by members simply trying to do the right thing, of over $170 million. It, like that fraud called Center for Biological Diversity care nothing about the facts, the truth, and the well being of people. Ms. Phillips is a modern day Luddite trying to spew a toxic venom about the life-blood of our civilization. Since oil and gas arrived on the scene, with its now 6,000 primary products that allow us to live and get around, "environmental" fatalities on humans have decreased by 98%! When a country starts to listen to alarmists telling the world they are out to protect humans and save the earth, tries to poison the minds of its citizens to turn against our civilization's energy and power, that country is in very grave trouble. Every single war last century had blood and oil as the main objectives, and so far this century, nothing has changed. When you lose your energy, your shelter, or the third ingredient to survive - food, you have war or submission. Ms. Phillips and her blood-sucking lawyers scamming the Sierra Club members out of money to pay their "livings" will rue the day when the screw turns and it is they being sued for slander, defamation, torts, and criminal conspiracy statues for their shameful corporate empire and greed. She is correct though about "fact being stranger than fiction." As a former Sierra Club member and still a life adherent to the works of John Muir, I know he would be ashamed of what has today hijacked his dreams.

Anonymous April 11, 2014 12:34 pm (Pacific time)

There is documentation on "Fracking" going back to 1947. It is far safer to the environment that what happens with the resulting toxic litter left behind after environmental crazies have a protest.

From a paid GOP troll

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