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 Friday, the Port of Oakland's rumbling cranes will stand silent as workers rally against recent police shootings and violence.

income inequality, wealth inequality, plutocrats, plutocracy, oligarchy, peak plutocracy, privatizations

A few years ago there was considerable debate about “peak oil," but now we may be reaching a more dangerous point: peak plutocracy, where society and the environment can sustain no more concentration of power and resources.

Fast Track, Trans-Pacific Partnership, TPP

An unprecedentedly united movement escalated their campaign to defeat Fast Track trade authority with a joint letter urging Congress to oppose it.

Finland elections, Finns Party, Finnish Greens

Finland is also not immune to the growing politics of prejudice surging in Europe since the financial crash.

The bill eases barriers to raising capital and allowing people to invest in worker coops, taking a step toward a solution to the state's growing income inequality.

Baltimore protests, Baltimore riots, Freddie Gray, police brutality, police violence, Baltimore Uprising, water shutoffs, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Baltimore police, Law Enforcement Bill of Rights

The people have demanded to be heard, and now, the city, state and federal government have to listen – the real fight is just beginning.

Posted 3 days 11 hours ago
Freddie Gray, police violence, police brutality, Baltimore protests, incarceration rates, Wall Street gambling, derivatives trading, public banking, postal banking

The bankers get our money, charge us for taking it and leave cities’ budgets bare. Schools close, small businesses shut down, social programs fold and only the cops remain.

Posted 4 days 7 hours ago
Occupy Everything, Montreal student protests, anti-austerity protests

Since the first tents were pitched on April 20, the university site has become increasingly sophisticated and now includes a first-aid tent and a fully functional kitchen.

Posted 6 days 10 hours ago
Bernie Sanders, TPP, Baltimore, Eleanor Goldfield, Act Out!

Spring is rising and so are the people – we cover the latest, from marchers in D.C. demanding racial justice to the ongoing protests in Baltimore.

Posted 4 days 7 hours ago
Corinthian Colleges, Everest Institute, Wyotech, Heald College, for-profit college, student debt, student loans

It was “not a school chain but a fraud factory, propped up by the Department of Education and taxpayer money for far too long,” wrote a group of Corinthian students waging a debt strike and refusing to pay their loans.

Posted 5 days 8 hours ago
Fast Track, Trans-Pacific Partnership, TPP

An unprecedentedly united movement escalated their campaign to defeat Fast Track trade authority with a joint letter urging Congress to oppose it.

Global Witness, How Many More?, environmentalist killings, land defender killings, indigenous resistance

As people worldwide await the UN conference on climate change in Paris, lost in the larger narrative are the individual stories of people battling environmental injustice on the local level – and paying the biggest price for it.

Trans-Pacific Partnership, TPP, fast track authority, fast track legislation, Investor-State Dispute Settlement, Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP

A blatantly unconstitutional trade deal, the TPP would destroy our republican form of government under the rule of law by elevating the rights of investors – also called the rights of “capital” – above the rights of citizens.

Freddie Gray, Baltimore

“It’s from years and years of taking shit. Now we’re at a point where people just don’t give a fuck.”

Wall Street fees, Wall Street fraud, state worker pensions

Public officials are overseeing this massive payout to Wall Street at the very moment many of those same officials are demanding big cuts to retirees’ promised pension benefits.

Sign Up