We file a lawsuit, state officials scramble to respond
Fracking rig. (Bob Warhover)
Here’s what we know: Fracking is already happening in California. Based on the oil and gas industry’s own admission, there were 600 wells that were fracked in 2011 alone. Here’s what we don’t know: exactly where, when, or what chemicals the oil and gas industry is blasting into the ground during fracking.
What makes matters worse is that state regulators don’t seem to be in much hurry to tackle the problem. California, long thought of as an environmental leader, is now falling behind other states like New York, Colorado—even Wyoming—in regulating fracking. That’s why our attorneys went to court this week, filing a lawsuit to protect Californians from fracking.
Hydraulic fracturing, commonly called fracking, is a controversial procedure used by drillers to extract oil and gas from hard to reach places deep within the earth. Hundreds of thousands to millions of gallons of water are mixed with secret toxic chemicals and injected down each well at high pressure, fracturing the underground rock formation to force the oil or gas to flow to the surface.
Our lawsuit move did not go unnoticed by state officials. In one news account, a state agency official admitted the state had "dropped the ball" on fracking. In another, a spokesman promised draft regulations would be coming in the "next several weeks."
We'll be working hard to make sure they stick with a quick timetable. And we may be asking for your help as we do so.
As Earthjustice attorney George Torgun told reporters:
Earthjustice attorneys have been fighting to protect the public from the impacts of fracking for several years. We’ve seen firsthand that basic environmental protections have been undermined at the federal level, making state level protections all the more important. What we’ve learned in our state-by-state fights is that in the face of intense industry pressure, state agencies need to be pushed to do the right thing. That’s what today’s lawsuit is all about—protecting Californians and ensuring their right to clean air and clean water.