“As the state begins to regulate and track the well stimulation practice called “fracking,” [Kelly] Swanson is not the only Yuba-Sutter resident wondering if the extraction method is employed in local gas fields.
“So far, fracking of local wells has been relatively uncommon and has produced mixed results, according to officials.”
“Following up on its vote this week to seek a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing — aka fracking — the Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday took action to authorize a change in local land-use laws to outlaw the practice, designed to increase the output of oil wells.
“For Apolinar Yerena of Yerena Farms in Castroville, forcing huge amounts of water down a drill bore to extract oil makes no sense when farmers up and down California are or will be hurting for water during the drought.”
“A Los Angeles City Council committee took a first step Tuesday toward banning hydraulic fracturing and other disputed practices tied to oil extraction, winning cheers and applause from a packed auditorium. …
“The panel decided to pass the matter along to the council after hearing from dozens of supporters.”
“Last fall the Environment America Research and Policy Center estimated that at least 250 billion gallons of water had been used since 2005 in the estimated 80,000 wells in 17 states. Drought-prone Texas led the way with at least 110 billion gallons.”
From The Sacramento Bee, in a commentary by Adam Scow:
“You cannot read the news anywhere in the country – let alone here in California – without being reminded that we face what’s shaping up to be the worst drought in centuries. Even with recent showers, water supplies in the northern and central parts of the state remain dangerously short. …
“Fracking is a triple threat to California’s water.”
“The headwaters of the Potomac River rise amid the hills and hollows of George Washington National Forest in Virginia. … About 4 million people depend on that water. For decades, the U.S. Forest Service identified preserving its purity as the top priority for the national forest.
“Interim regulations for the controversial oil extraction process known as ‘fracking’ went into effect in California last week. But several public hearings are scheduled across the state this week on permanent regulations.”
“Last year, almond farmer Tom Frantz shot a video of an oil company illegally spilling fracking fluid laced with chemicals into an open pit at the edge of town. Within months, his video had inspired stories from the New York Times to the British Broadcasting Corp.”
From the Los Angeles Times, in a commentary by Alex Prud’homme:
“Modern prospectors are eyeing the Monterey Shale formation, a 1,750-square-mile resource-rich swath of land in the San Joaquin Valley. Lying deep beneath the valley’s surface is a trove of shale oil — some 15.42 billion barrels’ worth, according to an estimate by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.”
“A group of 21 scientists is applauding California’s efforts to allow the fracking of its shale oil reserves, arguing the process is a safe way to improve the economy and reduce foreign oil dependence.”
“Water samples collected at Colorado sites where hydraulic fracturing was used to extract natural gas show the presence of chemicals that have been linked to infertility, birth defects and cancer, scientists reported Monday.
“The study, published in the journal Endocrinology, also found elevated levels of the hormone-disrupting chemicals in the Colorado River, where wastewater released during accidental spills at nearby wells could wind up.”