Clean Water Action is working to protect California from the dangers of hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Across the country, communities are suffering from health impacts related to fracking including: contaminated drinking water and polluted air, degradation of local waterways, and decreased property values. In most states, fracking operations are designed to extract natural gas reserves. In California, it’s all about oil.
California has the largest oil shale play in the nation- the Monterey Shale. It spans much of the Central Valley and the Central Coast along with Los Angeles. It lies below most of the sources of drinking water for Central Valley residents and contains 15 billion barrels of oil that have historically been too difficult to extract. Until now.
Using new technologies, such as fracking and shallow diatomite steam extraction, oil companies such as Venoco, Occidental, and PXP plan to make California the biggest on-shore oil producing state in the nation. We need to ensure that enhanced oil and gas recovery techniques, such as hydraulic fracturing, do not pollute our water, degrade our air, or damage our communities. Clean Water Action is working to enact a moratorium on fracking in California until the state determines whether fracking can be done without harming our communities and the environment
California’s Central Valley, home to 4 million Californians, has the highest level of particulate matter and ozone pollution in the United States and the asthma rate is three times the national average, according to the American Lung Association. Deep shale drilling is known to release significant levels of methane gases and volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) that cause smog and lead to respiratory problems, and cancer causing air toxics such as benzene and arsenic.
The oil and gas industry is the single largest producer of methane gas in the U.S., accountable for approximately 40% of all methane emissions. Methane is a greenhouse gas, 20 times more potent than CO2. In addition to the emissions from drilling, large numbers of trucks are used to transport chemicals to each drill site and wastewater away from each drill site, causing significant increases in particulate and smog-forming pollutants. The air pollution and health problems that result from fracking is a cost that Central Valley residents cannot afford to pay.