Earthjustice Sues California to Halt Fracking in the State

Search form

Earthjustice Sues California to Halt Fracking in the State

Earthjustice Sues California to Halt Fracking in the State
Wed, 10/17/2012 - by Braden Reddall
This article originally appeared on Reuters

Environmental groups sued the state of California on Tuesday in an effort to stop hydraulic fracturing as regulators attempt to devise new rules for the controversial oil and gas extraction practice.

The lawsuit accuses the regulator, the California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, with failing to evaluate the risks, even though fracking was used for more than 600 wells in the state last year.

Fracking, or pumping chemical-laced water and sand into a well to open cracks that release oil and gas, has generated a fierce debate across the country, leading to bans in one state and several municipalities. Yet the industry insists the practice is safe so long as wells are properly built.

A non-profit environmental law firm, Earthjustice, filed the lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity, Earthworks, Environmental Working Group and the Sierra Club.

"Public outcry has finally forced the Department to take a look at fracking," Earthjustice attorney George Torgun said in a statement. "They've held workshops and say they're considering regulations. But the problem needs attention now before too much damage is done."

In July, the Department of Conservation hosted several workshops to discuss potential regulation in anticipation of increased horizontal drilling in the state, which combined with fracking has unlocked oil and gas reservoirs around the country.

Given the public scrutiny, new rules are not expected to be finalized until mid-2013, officials said, though a draft set of rules are expected soon. State legislation to halt fracking, however, has so far received little support.

John Krohn, spokesman for oil and gas industry group Energy In Depth, pointed to the regulators' new rules on fracking and also said that California already had strict oil and gas rules that protect groundwater.

"But fringe environmental groups will not settle for anything less than a ban, which is why they are taking the regulators to court," he said in a statement.

The lawsuit acknowledged that fracking had been taking place in California oil wells since the 1950s, but the plaintiffs asked that the regulator not allow any more fracking until it has prepared "programmatic" environmental impact reports to cover the practice in various types of wells around the state.

Article Tabs

The crooked math that's going to crash American law enforcement if policies aren't changed.

There’s never been a better time to organize a general strike in the U.S. than right now, with both corporate owners and political leaders pillaging public resources for their own private gain.

Behind the words of central bankers, finance ministers and other technocrats, we're able to see countries collapse, governments overthrown, populations impoverished, societies destroyed, fascism and racism explode, and people rebel.

He's friends with Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel, a best-selling author, and has a wife who cooks excellent meatball soup. Romania is ready for its Transylvanian president with German flare and know-how.

There’s never been a better time to organize a general strike in the U.S. than right now, with both corporate owners and political leaders pillaging public resources for their own private gain.

Posted 1 day 6 hours ago

It’s no exaggeration to say that the School of the Americas has painted an entire region in blood.

Posted 6 days 5 hours ago

We are continuing where the freedom fighters of the Civil Rights Movement left off – we are a new generation of young multi­racial activists willing to take up the torch and we’re not going to stand for this anymore.

Posted 6 days 5 hours ago

Now rolling into to its fourth month, the video game consumer movement known as #GamerGate continues to evolve in scope and focus as it seeks to advocate for greater ethical standards in gaming journalism.

Posted 2 days 2 hours ago

An anti-refugee wave has swept across Berlin as the December opening of six refugee container settlements nears – with one in 10 Germans now supporting National Socialism.

Posted 6 days 5 hours ago

Pablo Iglesias, who heads the country's rising populist party that emerged from the 15-M Movement, talks about what it takes to build mass movements.

What makes Enyia’s ideas about governing revolutionary is that they're policies which hardwire economic justice and sustainability into the institutions themselves.

The UN plan agreed Sunday is a crucial step towards a climate change deal due to be finalized in Paris next year – for the first time committing all countries, including developing nations, to cutting emissions.

Dozens of land conservation bills, which were added to a defense spending bill approved on Friday, protect more than 1 million acres of national parks, wilderness areas, and wild and scenic rivers.

He's friends with Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel, a best-selling author, and has a wife who cooks excellent meatball soup. Romania is ready for its Transylvanian president with German flare and know-how.

Sign Up