The agency responsible for regulating California’s oil and natural gas industry violated state rules by approving hundreds of new wells in 2019 without proper review, according to a recent audit.
The state Department of Finance’s review of California’s Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) found numerous violations, including inadequate environmental and safety reviews and a failure to follow current guidelines.
That news has environmental groups outraged, but hardly surprised.
“For far too long, we have seen the fox guarding the hen house with CalGEM,” said Monica Embrey, associate director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Dirty Fuels Campaign.
The audit focused specifically on injection wells, used by oil and gas companies to expedite the drilling process and pump wastewater underground, where it risks contaminating the water supply.