The controversial oil and gas extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has ignited concerns nationwide about the serious risks it poses to public health and our environment. Here in California, a largely unfettered oil industry is poised to poach the oil-rich Monterey Shale formation, putting communities at risk of surface and groundwater contamination, fresh water depletion, air pollution, and a host of other harmful consequences that naturally follow when you engage in a highly industrial process that injects, at high pressures, toxic chemicals and millions of gallons of water under the earth.
Perhaps most alarming, especially for California, is the prospect of induced seismicity from the injection underground of fracking's wastewater. California is crisscrossed with fault lines, and it was recently revealed that the state is woefully behind in its efforts to map them. Faults that are still waiting to be mapped include faults that run through heavily populated areas of the state, like the Hollywood fault and the Santa Monica fault. In a place where we already live in fear of the seemingly inevitable "Big One," there must be an immediate halt to this dangerous practice of fracking.
My colleague, Damon Nagami, elaborates on fracking's potential to trigger earthquakes in California on KCET.org:
If fracking and fracking-related injection wells can trigger earthquakes in states like Ohio, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Texas (where earthquakes occur rarely), then the proposed rapid expansion of fracking in California—which has thousands of known fault lines—is extremely unnerving. Perhaps that's why over half of Californias are in favor of a moratorium of fracking—at least until an independent commission has studied its environmental effects.
We are calling on Governor Brown to do the right thing and stop fracking in California until the state has studied the impacts and can ensure its residents that safeguards are in place to guard against them. You can read Damon Nagami's blog calling for a moratorium on fracking here, and you can join our effort by taking action here.