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

"Under The Dome," which relates a mother's concerns about the effect of the country’s filthy air on her child, has been compared to Rachel Carson's seminal work "Silent Spring."

fossil fuel divestment, divestment movement, carbon emissions, renewable energy investments

The question is simple but profound: Whose side are you on?

Forbes Billionaire List, Bill Gates, Carlos Slim, Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg

The 29th annual guide to the globe’s richest found a record 1,826 billionaires with an aggregate net worth of $7.05 trillion – up from $6.4 trillion a year ago.

The Rolling Rebellion is launching nationwide, creative direct actions to draw attention to the biggest corporate giveaway in history – before it happens.

When I was in southern Pakistan last year, poor youths told me that constant police pressure combined with unrelenting unemployment made joining the militias the only viable means of survival.

Through "evergreening,” pharmaceutical companies could could retain ownership of and royalties to drugs for which their patents have expired – limiting access to generic forms of medicine that millions need.

Posted 6 days 20 hours ago

It's not easy writing a play about injustice in America much as it's not easy telling the complex, multi-layered story of the Occupy movement – something Catherine Hurd set out to do in her musical that premieres this week.

Posted 6 days 20 hours ago

The 5 Largest U.S. Financial Institutions And Their Effects

Posted 5 days 21 hours ago

As the European Commission president who helped define Europe's austerity-driven financial policies, Barroso advocated doing "whatever is necessary to make sure the euro thrives and to regain the trust of financial markets.”

Posted 5 days 21 hours ago

The only way to beat organized money is to have organized people.

Posted 5 days 21 hours ago

The only way to beat organized money is to have organized people.

The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, essentially disappearing Americans and locking them in the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site.

Against the backdrop of violence and greed, this character – the Activist – shows up again and again throughout the story of the U.S., refining the tools of nonviolent action into something as American as apple pie.

union busting, Scott Walker, right to work, Madison protests, Wisconsin AFL-CIO, Wisconsin Citizen Media Cooperative, Wisconsin Jobs Now

Wisconsin unions bussed thousands of workers from around the state on Saturday to demonstrate against the impending adoption of a law to ban private-sector workers from being required to join a union or pay dues.

The 5 Largest U.S. Financial Institutions And Their Effects

Sign Up