What's at Stake
Fracking is a controversial procedure used by drillers in California to extract deposits of oil and gas from depleted wells or from geologic formations where conventional drilling is ineffective.
Hundreds of thousands to millions of gallons of water are mixed with 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.
The country is in the midst of an oil and gas drilling boom, aided by the controversial drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, also known as "fracking." As fracking has increased, reports of poisoned water, polluted air and other environmental harms are also on the rise.
In California, where fracking is accelerating, rubber-stamped permits for oil drilling are the norm. The government isn’t paying any attention to the negative environmental and public health impacts of fracking, even though oil and gas companies are using this controversial form of drilling at unprecedented rates in the state.
Earthjustice went to court to force the state agency responsible for regulating the oil and gas industry to ensure that public health and the environment in California are protected.
As hundreds of California oil and gas wells undergo dangerous hydraulic fracturing without government oversight, environmental advocates, represented by Earthjustice, are in court to force the agency responsible for regulating the oil and gas industry to abide by the state’s foremost law that protects public health and the environment.
As the nation’s largest oil and gas companies push the Obama administration to allow the unlimited exportation of liquefied natural gas, a swarm of environmental groups has urged the President to oppose such an expansion until additional environmental and economic studies have been conducted. Unlimited liquefied natural gas exportation would increase domestic gas prices and multiply the harmful environmental and health consequences of fracking.
As reported in the current issue of Earthjustice Quarterly Magazine, oil fracking has become big news in California, where the practice is conducted in the shadows and is essentially unregulated—the Wild Wild West, if you will. (See: Extreme Energy: Out of Control Out West)
That may be about to change.