Environmental Groups Sue State Over Fracking
Environmental groups are suing California’s oil and gas agency over the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing or fracking. In a lawsuit filed on Tuesday in superior court, they claim that the California Department of Conservation's Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources has failed to consider the environmental impacts, as required by state law.
Fracking has been making headlines in states like Pennsylvania, where millions of gallons of water are injected underground to extract natural gas. But here in California, no one’s quite sure how much fracking is going on.
“The Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources does not currently track, monitor, control or have any specific standards that apply to the fracking of oil and gas wells,” says George Torgun, attorney with the non-profit Earthjustice. The group was joined by the Sierra Club, the Environmental Working Group and the Center for Biological Diversity in the suit.
The majority of fracking in the state is done on oil wells, but Torgun says state regulators have failed to look at the risk it poses to groundwater. “Fracking has the potential for significant expansion given that California has the largest oil shale resources in the nation,” he says.
The state's division of oil and gas is currently drafting fracking regulations, but Torgun says the suit aims to ensure those rules are tough enough.