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Unregulated Fracking in CA Forces Lawsuit

PHOTO: Demonstration against fracking outside Dept. of Conservation.
PHOTO: Demonstration against fracking outside Dept. of Conservation.
October 17, 2012

Conservation groups are calling for an end to what they call the "rubber-stamping" of oil and gas drilling projects in the state. The groups have filed a lawsuit demanding that state regulators enforce existing law to protect public health and the environment from the hydraulic fracturing known as "fracking."

Kassie Siegel, director of the Center for Biological Diversity, says the Department of Conservation has turned a blind eye to the dangers of fracking.

"A lot of Californians aren't even aware that fracking is going on in our state, but it is, and it's bringing significant new dangers to our water, our air and our wildlife."

The controversial practice involves injecting a mixture of water and toxic chemicals down a well to fracture the underground rock formation and force oil or gas to the surface.

Enticed by claims of trapped oil in the Monterey and Santos shale formations, oil and gas companies have begun exploratory drilling beneath central and southern California. Siegel says this will demolish California's efforts to fight climate change.

"Developing these extreme fossil-fuel resources is like lighting the fuse on a carbon bomb that will shatter California's efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas pollution."

The nonprofit environmental law firm Earthjustice filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Alameda County on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity, Earthworks, Environmental Working Group and the Sierra Club.

More information is online at earthjustice.org.

Lori Abbott, Public News Service - CA