Independent Scientific Study Released on California Fracking and Oil Well Stimulation

Report Details Key Findings on Impacts to Environment and Human Health

LOS ANGELES (July 9, 2015) –  The California Council on Science & Technology today released its independent scientific assessment on the health and environmental impacts of fracking and oil and gas well stimulation in California. The report, produced in collaboration with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, was mandated by California Senate Bill 4, which for the first time required regulation of well stimulation in the state, and looked at the effects of well and fracking activities on water, air, seismic activity, wildlife and vegetation, and human health.

Among the key findings are that oil and gas operators have unrestricted use of hazardous and poorly understood chemicals, and their use should be restricted or prohibited. Additionally, it found that operators currently dispose of fracking wastewater in unlined percolation pits, as well as likely by injecting it into protected drinking water supplies, and that these practices should stop. The report also identifies health threats to populations in close proximity to oil and gas sites and a need for increased monitoring and reporting of pollutants.

Following is a statement by Briana Mordick, staff scientist with NRDC’s Land and Climate Programs:

“This study found numerous threats to drinking water, public health and the environment from oil and gas development in California.

“Due to the fact that both the statewide environmental impact report and final well stimulation regulations were completed before this independent scientific assessment was released, neither fully addresses the serious impacts identified in the study. That’s unacceptable.

“It’s critical that we use these new scientific findings and recommendations to guide the policies for how we move forward. Policies must be put in place to halt hazardous practices –including the continued use of unlined percolation pits, injection into useable groundwater resources, unrestricted use of dangerous chemicals, and the close proximity of production sites to communities. Additionally, this report describes a long list of measures and studies that must be implemented to address threats to California communities and environment. This underscores the importance of putting a moratorium in place while the state works to implement the recommendations and protect against threats from fracking.”


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