Angelenos, do you have concerns about fracking? If you don't, you should.
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is the controversial oil and gas production process that uses immense quantities of water and has been linked to groundwater pollution and earthquakes. And it's happening right here in southern California. In March, I blogged about a heated community meeting in Baldwin Hills where many Angelenos learned this for the first time.
California doesn’t have any regulations on fracking. The state oil and gas agency, DOGGR, isn't tracking the process, so no one knows where fracking is happening. As recently as February, DOGGR was downplaying the role of fracking in California, calling the practice "uncommon" or "limited," before the agency came clean and now admits that fracking is a "regular practice" and that companies have been fracking here for decades.
Another misleading statement from DOGGR (and industry) is that fracking has been used "for more than 30 years with no reported damage to the environment." First, there's no reported damage because no one knows where the fracked wells are. How would anyone know where to look for contamination? Second, the newer horizontal fracking that's taking place on the East Coast -- which has already been linked to water contamination and which oil companies now want to bring to California -- poses a threat even greater than the kind of fracking that has happened here thus far. So we can't pretend to understand the harm that could result next.
As I mentioned in the op-ed I wrote last month, state regulators are finally responding to the public's outcry and have agreed to draft regulations to address fracking in California. The Department of Conservation, DOGGR's parent agency, is holding a series of public workshops over the summer to gather public input on what people want to see in the new regulations.
This is our chance, Angelenos.
The two southern California workshops are taking place next week. We need everyone to come out and tell the Department of Conservation that fracking is a critical issue they need to be paying special attention to.
The dates, times, and locations for the two workshops are:
Culver City: Tuesday, June 12th, 7:00 p.m., City Council Chambers, 9770 Culver Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232
Long Beach: Wednesday, June 13th, 7:00 p.m., California State University Long Beach Student Union, 1212 N. Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90815
Last week, we and our allies in the Baldwin Hills sent this letter to the Department asking basic questions about the regulation-making process. We hope the Department will respond to these questions at the workshops.
What questions do you have for the Department of Conservation? What recommendations do you have for fracking regulations for California? Come to one (or both!) of the workshops and tell the Department in person, or you can email your comments to email@example.com. If we speak up now, we can make a critical difference in protecting southern California.
Photo: Oil drilling in the Baldwin Hills (NRDC)