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Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | monterey county

Sierra Club Condemns State Injection Well Practices, Calls for Investigation

February, 2015

Sierra Club at all levels, National, State and Ventana Chapter continue the fight against fracking in California. This week the Associated Press reported that more than 2,500 injection wells that put federally protected aquifers at risk in California have been permitted by the Division of Oil Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), a California State agency under the Department of Conservation responsible for permitting oil and gas extraction. Nearly half of those—or 1,172—have been permitted in the last four years.

The oil industry uses injection wells to dispose of liquid waste created in the process of drilling for oil and to dispose of waste water produced during the long term production of oil from existing wells. The injections are convenient for oil companies because drilling and production can bring up as much as 13 gallons of wastewater for every gallon of petroleum. One of the easiest disposal methods is to deposit that wastewater back underground. Shallow well injection into ground water supplies is included in this unsafe process.

This waste includes a soup of chemicals used in fracking and other well stimulation techniques, as well as contaminated water pulled up from underground during drilling. State records show that this practice can introduce toxic levels of contaminants that can ruin water supplies for drinking or watering crops and livestock.

These permits have been issued despite growing warnings from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) since 2011 that state regulators were out of compliance with federal laws meant to protect underground drinking-water stores from oilfield contamination. State and federal agencies are reviewing the permit process and DOGGR has until 2017 to actually stop injection into aquifers that USEPA has not designated for waste disposal.

Sierra Club CA Director of Sierra Club California issued this response to the news:
"It is extraordinarily distressing that for so many years the state has essentially put California's diminishing water supply in the pathway of serious pollution. If this were a one-time incident it would be bad enough. But to permit thousands of questionable wells defies common sense.

It's time for an outside investigation into DOGGR's practices. While USEPA's calling for a plan to stop injecting into sensitive aquifers is commendable, that's not enough. It's time for the U.S. Attorney's office to investigate how and why this permitting continued even after the federal agency warnings."



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May 2015

Earthjustice, Sierra Club and Center of Biological Diversity File Lawsuit to Halt California Oil Injection Practices
May 2015

Sierra Club Condemns State Injection Well Practices, Calls for Investigation
February 2015

Sierra Club Submits Comment Letter to DOGGR
November 2014

Monterey County Board of Supervisors Review Fracking Regulations
September 2014

Trio Petroleum Well Permit Denied at Monterey County Planning Commission
August 2014

A Renewable Energy Economy?
August 2014

Sierra Club CA Submits Comments to DOGGR on Fracking
August 2014

Chapter Submits Comments to BLM Regarding the Dangers of Fracking
February 2014

Santa Cruz County Moves To Adopt Fracking Moratorium
December 2013

Sierra Club Opposes Weak Fracking Bill SB 4 Passed by the Assembly
September 2013

Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity Win a Major Fracking Decision for Central California
August 2013

Chapter Submits Comments to State Regulatory Board Regarding Lack of Oversight for Fracking; Public Concern Grows
May 2013

Sierra Club and CBD Win Major Fracking Lawsuit Victory
April 2013

New Sierra Club Lawsuit Aims to Protect More Public Lands from Fracking
April 2013

Sierra Club Sues California Department of Conservation Over Dangers of Fracking
October 2012

Sierra Club and Center for Biological Diversity Sue BLM over Oil Leases
February 2012

Club files protest to stop fracking in Monterey County
August 2011

Controversial fracking method approved for oil drilling near Salinas River
April 2011