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

This in-depth investigation reveals how election officials in 27 states, most of them Republicans, launched a program that threatens a massive purge of millions of voters from the rolls.

The pro-democracy movement has relied heavily on social media and messaging apps to mobilize protesters – and recent arrests from online activity has a "chilling effect" that "scares people away."

If a corporation’s profits or operations will be restricted by a country’s laws or the decisions of its courts, under the TPP it will be able to sue.

As with Occupy Wall Street, the organic rise of the GamerGate movement – though sprung from an environment as politically irrelevant as video games – is creating odd alliances and surprising bedfellows.

With a click of a button, over 6,000 Detroit properties were purchased Tuesday for just over $500 apiece – surprising local government, which had scripted a much different ending.

Wealthy people are often so isolated from the rest of us, many of them have forgotten how rich they really are.

Posted 6 days 18 hours ago

The coalition was set to deliver more than 200,000 signatures to the White House, Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice, calling for transparency and justice in police killings.

Posted 6 days 18 hours ago

Americans greatly underestimate the degree of inequality in our country – and if we were given proper media coverage of the endless takeaway of wealth by the super rich, we'd be taking it personally.

Posted 6 days 18 hours ago

The cohesion between pop culture and politics in the 1960s made it easier to access politically charged art and music – something our generation is still searching for today.

Posted 3 days 18 hours ago

Two political philosophers, Sheldon Wolin and John Ralson Saul, call for mass movements willing to carry out repeated acts of civil disobedience to disrupt and delegitimize corporate power.

Posted 6 days 18 hours ago

This in-depth investigation reveals how election officials in 27 states, most of them Republicans, launched a program that threatens a massive purge of millions of voters from the rolls.

Testing cosmetics on animals goes against the non-violence principle of Ahimsa, and protecting sentient animals from suffering is enshrined in India’s constitution as the duty of every citizen.

“There are many of us here who are homeless because when we came back from fighting, we couldn’t get a job, we had mental problems and there was no assistance for us anywhere."

Wealthy people are often so isolated from the rest of us, many of them have forgotten how rich they really are.

Americans greatly underestimate the degree of inequality in our country – and if we were given proper media coverage of the endless takeaway of wealth by the super rich, we'd be taking it personally.

Sign Up