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Thirsty Industry Wants to Frack Parched State

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24 January 2014, 3:38 PM
California's driest year on record isn't stopping the oil industry
An oil rig in Shafter, CA. The state is facing sudden growth in oil drilling. (Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice)

With severe drought conditions predicted for winter, California's Gov. Brown is demanding that state agencies immediately scale back water consumption, while urging Californians to reduce water use by 20 percent. Yet, contrary to enforcing water conservation, Brown recently gave the ‘green light’ to fracking California’s Monterey Shale—a process that consumes vast quantities of water.

Oil tycoons see bags of money lying within the Monterey Shale, a geologic formation storing two-thirds of the nation’s shale oil reserves. As federal fracking regulations and environmental reviews stagger and fall in Congress, the oil industry is seizing the unregulated opportunity and breaking ground.

Hydraulic fracturing for oil can require nearly 2 million of gallons of water per well. As seen in North Dakota, a state under siege by the fracking industry, water allocation rights are becoming a common theme of contention. Fresh water is taken from surface water or ground water, then mixed with 600+ chemicals, the majority of which are undisclosed under the Trade Secrets Act. The water and chemicals are injected into the shale formations under high pressure. Only 30–70 percent of the injected water ever returns to the surface. The wastewater that does return to the surface is separated from the oil and either treated in wastewater facilities or injected into disposal wells underground—permanently removing the water from the hydrologic cycle. Wastewater facilities are struggling to treat the wastewater because of the radionucleotides, heavy metals, and other undisclosed chemicals, and are beginning to reject requests to treat the water with the fear of facing fines from improper treatment.

Though Gov. Brown admits this is “perhaps the worst drought California has ever seen,” he still gave the green light to fracking. He recently signed into law Senate Bill No. 4, a controversial bill among environmental groups and the oil industry. SB 4 will begin to require some level of regulation that requires permit applications, but still doesn’t require the environmental analysis that should be done to fully evaluate the posed risks. Fracking is connected to water contamination, oil spills, and air pollution, and may soon become a key player in amplifying the hardships associated with the California’s drought.

Water wars have already begun in the courtroom—with stakeholders battling out allocation rights and increased water demands. California’s Central Valley Project—one of the world’s largest water storage and transport systems—irrigates more than 3 million acres of farmland and provides drinking water to nearly 2 million consumers. However, the Central Valley Project struggles to meet the contracted deliveries, and already has projected water contracts for decades to come—further emphasizing California’s label as a state of “high/extremely high” water stress. So how would the oil industry meet the water demands for fracking California’s Monterey Shale? Your guess is as good as ours.

If you'd like to learn more about water resources associated with fracking the Monterey Shale, see: Water Resources Needed to Hydraulically Fracture California’s Monterey Shale for Oil [Using the Bakken Shale Oil Exploration in North Dakota as a Case Study]

Please don't even consider frackikng, for all our sakes

Please don't even consider frackikng, for all our sakes

Reports reveal 2 to 6 mil gal/well is req'd; That Water is non re-usable and "out of the Hydrology cycle". There is basis here for Citizen-based legal action: If we demand that petro companies re-use their own waste water and they object for any reason, we ask them to defend their objections by defining and quantifying the costs of reclamation to safe drinking status. That will provide their own data as basis for why those costs should not be externalized on our citizenry.

Please don't frack California and pollute our water! That is obscene and completely unnecessary. Have you lost touch with common sense? Look around at the terrible devastation it leaves in it's wake! I thought you were more 'concious' than this. Deeply disappointed in this and hope you rethink it. Don't make us regret putting you in office!

Vote Solar Initiative is a Sierra Club and Solar Leasing Companies platform to ensure that One Utility will take the place of Another through the continued use of Net Metering, we need a Policy that will enable Hard Working, Voting, Tax Paying Citizens, get a chance to participate in the States goal of 33% Renewable Energy by 2020 through a California Residential Feed in Tariff.

We need to Ban Fracking and implement a Residential and Commercial Feed in Tariff through out the Nation, this petition, starts in California.

California, there is enough Residential Solar to power 2.25 San Onofres, couple that with a Residential and Commercial Feed in Tariff and we can solve some of these environmental and electrical generating problems.

The Southwest is in the midst of a record drought, some 14 years in the making, which means the water supply for many Western states - California, Arizona, Utah, Nevada - is drying up. Last month the Bureau of Reclamation announced they're cutting the flow of water into Lake Mead, which has already lost 100 feet of water since the drought began.

What happens if the Southwest drought does not end soon?

Will we keep using 3 to 6 million gallons of Clean Water per Fracked well, to extract natural gas?

This petition will ask the California Regulators and Law makers to allocate Renewable Portfolio Standards to Ca. Home Owners for a Residential Feed in Tariff, the RPS is the allocation method that is used to set aside a certain percentage of electrical generation for Renewable Energy in the the State.

The State of California has mandated that 33% of its Energy come from Renewable Energy by 2020.

The state currently produces about 71% of the electricity it consumes, while it imports 8% from the Pacific Northwest and 21% from the Southwest.

This is how we generate our electricity in 2011, natural gas was burned to make 45.3% of electrical power generated in-state. Nuclear power from Diablo Canyon in San Luis Obispo County accounted for 9.15%, large hydropower 18.3%, Renewable 16.6% and coal 1.6%.

There is 9% missing from San Onofre and with the current South Western drought, how long before the 18.3% hydro will be effected?

Another generator of power that jumps out is natural gas, 45.3%, that is a lot of Fracked Wells poisoning our ground water, 3 to 6 million gallons of water are used per well. If Fracking is safe why did Vice Pres Cheney lobby and win Executive, Congressional, and Judicial exemptions from:

Clean Water Act.

Safe Drinking Water.

Act Clean Air Act.

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

Emergency Planning Community Right to Know Act.

National Environmental Policy Act.

"Americans should not have to accept unsafe drinking water just because natural gas is cheaper than Coal. the Industry has used its political power to escape accountability, leaving the American people unprotected, and no Industry can claim to be part of the solution if it supports exemptions from the basic Laws designed to ensure that we have Clean Water and Clean Air" Natural Resources Defense Council.

We have to change how we generate our electricity, with are current drought conditions and using our pure clean water for Fracking, there has to be a better way to generate electricity, and there is, a proven stimulating policy.

The Feed in Tariff is a policy mechanism designed to accelerate investment in Renewable Energy, the California FiT allows eligible customers generators to enter into 10- 15- 20- year contracts with their utility company to sell the electricity produced by renewable energy, and guarantees that anyone who generates electricity from R E source, whether Homeowner, small business, or large utility, is able to sell that electricity. It is mandated by the State to produce 33% R E by 2020.

FIT policies can be implemented to support all renewable technologies including:
Photovoltaics (PV)
Solar thermal
Fuel cells
Tidal and wave power.

There is currently 3 utilities using a Commercial Feed in Tariff in California Counties, Los Angeles, Palo Alto, and Sacramento, are paying their businesses 17 cents per kilowatt hour for the Renewable Energy they generate. We can get our Law makers and Regulators to implement a Residential Feed in Tariff, to help us weather Global Warming, insulate our communities from grid failures, generate a fair revenue stream for the Homeowners and protect our Water.

The 17 cents per kilowatt hour allows the Commercial Business owner and the Utility to make a profit.

Commercial Ca. rates are 17 - 24 cents per kilowatt hour.

Implementing a Residential Feed in Tariff at 13 cents per kilowatt hour for the first 2,300 MW, and then allow no more than 3-5 cents reduction in kilowatt per hour, for the first tier Residential rate in you area and for the remaining capacity of Residential Solar, there is a built in Fee for the Utility for using the Grid. A game changer for the Hard Working, Voting, Tax Paying, Home Owner and a Fair Profit for The Utility, a win for our Children, Utilities, and Our Planet.

We also need to change a current law, California law does not allow Homeowners to oversize their Renewable Energy systems.

Campaign to allow Californian residents to sell electricity obtained by renewable energy for a fair pro-business market price. Will you read, sign, and share this petition?

"Solar is absolutely great as long as you stay away from leases and PPAs. Prices for solar have dropped so dramatically in the past year, that leasing a solar system makes absolutely no sense in today's market.

The typical household system is rated at about 4.75 kW. After subtracting the 30% federal tax credit, the cost would be $9,642 to own this system. The typical cost to lease that same 4.75 kW system would be $35,205 once you totaled up the 20 years worth of lease payments and the 30% federal tax credit that you'll have to forfeit when you lease a system. $9,642 to own or $35,205 to lease. Which would you rather choose?

If you need $0 down financing then there are much better options than a lease or PPA. FHA is offering through participating lenders, a $0 down solar loan with tax deductible interest and only a 650 credit score to qualify. Property Assessed Clean Energy loans are available throughout the state that require no FICO score checks, with tax deductible interest that allow you to make your payments through your property tax bill with no payment due until November 2014. Both of these programs allow you to keep the 30% federal tax credit as well as any applicable cash rebate. With a lease or PPA you'll have to forfeit the 30% tax credit and any cash rebate, and lease or PPA payments are not tax deductible.

Solar leases and PPA served their purpose two years ago when no other viable form of financing was available, but today solar leases and PPAs are two of the most expensive ways to keep a solar system on your roof." Ray Boggs.

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