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

On Wednesday, nine Democratic senators came out in support of a resolution to make four-year public colleges in the U.S. debt-free.

One lesson of the 2014 election cycle: More money came from fewer people.

water protections, Clean Water Act, American Farm Bureau Federation, Environmental Protection Agency, EPA

Drinking water for 117 million Americans will be protected under new rules shielding small streams, tributaries and wetlands from pollution and development.

Lawrence Lessig, Marianne Williamson, Killswitch, New Hampshire Rebellion, Move to Amend, WolfPAC, money in politics, Trans-Pacific Partnership, TPP, Article V convention, Citizens United, campaign finance reform

On June 4, two of the nation’s leading voices against political corruption, Lawrence Lessig and Marianne Williamson, will join Occupy.com's screening of "Killswitch" in a call for sweeping citizen action to root money out of politics in 2016.

anti-austerity movement, U.K. anti-austerity protests, wealth gap, rising inequality

As election resentment gathers speed in the U.K., reinvigorated protest efforts are emerging as well.

Plains All American, Surfrider Foundation, oil spill, Santa Barbara,

New details have emerged about Plains All American's long history of generating similar disasters.

Posted 6 days 16 hours ago

The U.S. ranks among the most unequal countries, surpassed only by Turkey, Mexico and Chile.

Posted 6 days 17 hours ago
$15 minimum wage, low wage workers, fast-food worker strikes, Fight for 15, minimum wage hikes

Some of the biggest cities in America are now defying decades of economic orthodoxy and challenging social norms that regarded low-wage jobs as unavoidable and acceptable.

Posted 6 days 17 hours ago

Spain’s 15-M Movement made the move from city squares to the halls of power on Sunday in municipal and regional elections that saw the ruling People’s party battered at the ballot box.

Posted 2 days 14 hours ago
March Against Monsanto, Monsanto, GMOs, genetically modified organisms, genetic seeds

Saturday marked the third annual March Against Monsanto, as thousands of people in at least 48 countries protested the American biotech giant.

Posted 2 days 15 hours ago

Spain’s 15-M Movement made the move from city squares to the halls of power on Sunday in municipal and regional elections that saw the ruling People’s party battered at the ballot box.

financial transactions tax, FTT, Robin Hood tax

The FTT proposed last week by presidential candidate Bernie Sanders would impose a sales tax on stocks and other financial assets, forcing speculators to pay a tax on their trades just like people who buy shoes or clothes.

The U.S. ranks among the most unequal countries, surpassed only by Turkey, Mexico and Chile.

The movement against rigged corporate trade is going to have to escalate its campaign if we are to hold the majority and stop Fast Track for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Patriot Act, Eleanor Goldfield, #ShellNo, ActOut!

This week we dive into the toxic sludge of the oil industry.

Sign Up