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

900 environmental activists have been killed in the past decade – but only 10 perpetrators were convicted, report says.

Social movements and electoral movements, which are imperative for nonviolent social change, should work together.

In state capitols from Maine to Oregon, environmental advocates are filing bills to identify and ban noxious chemicals, and industry groups are fighting back.

As many as 17,000 people will die directly as a result of their states refusing to expand Medicaid.

Life in tent encampments, vehicles, motels, and storage units - REAL CHANGE focuses on four men who sell Real Change News, a street newspaper in Seattle. Follow ROBERT, GEORGE, DANIEL, and BUDDY as they navigate the less visible side of homelessness in America. Despite their struggles, they persevere. Each sells newspapers to get by.

A series of potential jurors voiced opposition to Occupy Wall Street as Cecily McMillan, 25, faces seven years in prison for assault.

Posted 6 days 12 hours ago

"Right now the future of Spain's youth looks pretty black. The country is not creating anything. With minimal job opportunities, many young people are going to other countries to find work.”

Posted 6 days 13 hours ago

The new 192-page book documents the activities of Occupy Austin and includes photographs of marches, arrests, assemblies, court trials, the camp itself and even law enforcement infiltration.

Posted 6 days 12 hours ago

New research finds that richest 0.1 percent of Americans have doubled their share of the pie, dramatically expanding their portion of the country's wealth in three decades.

Posted 6 days 12 hours ago

In All the Presidents' Bankers, Nomi Prins writes a painstakingly researched history of the financial industry's collusion with the White House to create a self-serving United States financial policy.

Posted 6 days 12 hours ago

Across America the news was greeted with measured optimism as food activists praised the company's decision, saying it would help end the still-popular belief that GMOs are a viable, sustainable future solution for food production.

Last year's Maple Spring raised hopes for the mobilization and victory potential of social movements. In hindsight, we can draw some conclusions about the legacy of that uprising — and how it relates to the Occupy movement that preceded it.

Two Norwegian politicians say the NSA whistleblower's actions have led to a more stable and peaceful world order.

In this video, titled “Someday,” the actor and filmmaker Matthew Modine resurrects an old parable and applies it to the Occupy Movement.

Hundreds of thousands flooded Spain's streets to protest austerity cuts and bank bailouts on Saturday, while tens of thousands rallied Sunday in Bulgaria to demand higher wages, lower energy costs and an end to government corruption.

Sign Up