Central Valley

November 22, 2013

Oil firm to pay penalty for discharging fracking fluid

Read here about an oil firm in California that has been fined $60,000 for discharging fracking fluid.

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May 16, 2013

How will Brown Balance Oil, Environmental Interests?

Source: http://www.foxandhoundsdaily.com, May 14, 2013
By: Daniel Weintraub

California’s economy has been powered for decades by technology, trade and tourism — businesses and jobs mostly near the coast from San Diego to Los Angeles and around the San Francisco Bay Area. The state’s great inland valleys, while serving as a breadbasket for the world, have not been a land of high-paying employment or tax-producing industry.

A glance at the most recent unemployment numbers reflects this reality. While the state’s overall jobless rate is still high by historic standards, it has fallen to 6.3 percent in Orange County, 6.0 percent in San Francisco and 5.7 percent in San Mateo County. In the Central Valley, by contrast, unemployment remains in double digits from Kern County (13.6) all the way to San Joaquin (14.1).

Could Big Oil change all that?

A revolution in the oil industry that’s been taking place in Pennsylvania, Ohio and North Dakota is poised to sweep through California’s oil patch, with the potential to produce hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions in tax revenue for the state.

But there’s a big catch. That same revolution also brings the chance of environmental degradation, threatening the water supply and abetting a carbon-based economy that many were hoping would soon become a thing of the past. That might not be a problem in the rust belt or the job-starved upper Midwest, but environmental protection is one of California’s passions. It is also one of its attractions.

At issue is the future of what is known as the Monterey Shale, a geologic formation that stretches beneath the Central Valley from Bakersfield to Modesto. Parts of this region have been a source of oil for generations. Despite recent declines, California still ranks fourth among the states in crude oil production, behind Texas, Alaska and a surging North Dakota, and most of that oil comes from the southern Central Valley and the surrounding hills.…

May 1, 2013

California Assembly panel OKs three measures to halt fracking for more study

Source: The Sacramento Bee, May 1, 2013
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

In the latest sign of Democrats’ determination to rein in the disputed extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a California Assembly committee has advanced three bills that would halt the practice in the state for the foreseeable future.

They were not the first fracking bills to make it out of committee this year, but they go further than other fracking legislation by calling for a moratorium to allow more time to study the impacts of hydraulic fracturing, which involves blasting a mix of chemicals and water deep underground.

Senate Bill 4 by Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, for instance, would prohibit the state from issuing new fracking permits only if a study on fracking was not completed by Jan. 1, 2015.

Paul Deiro, a lobbyist testifying Monday before the Assembly Natural Resources Committee on behalf of the Western States Petroleum Association, told committee members that other proposals were “far more reasonable than the three moratorium bills you hear today,” arguing that there is no evidence that fracking is unsafe.

“The proponents of a moratorium have often said we don’t know, we need to collect information and find out,” but there are no cases of proven well failure or groundwater contamination in California, Deiro said. He added that a fracking ban would mean that the energy-rich Central Valley “loses the potential of creating millions of jobs.”

But Assembly members said they were responding to constituents alarmed that fracking is moving forward in California with seemingly little oversight or regulation.…

February 17, 2011

Groundwater pollution legal fight finally ends

Source: Lodi News-Sentinel (CA), February 12, 2011
By: Maggie Creamer

The city of Lodi ended a long legal battle over groundwater contamination earlier this month.

The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board unanimously approved $6.3 million in settlements from a federal lawsuit over groundwater pollution on Feb. 4.

These settlements are with insurance companies of local businesses, and resolve the question of liability for the contamination, city officials said.

“I’m pleased to see we’re no longer paying to fight about the problem, we’re paying to clean it up,” Lodi City Attorney Steve Schwabauer said in a news release. “I’m glad we’ve reached the end of a 22-year odyssey to deal with the root of the contamination.”

With the approval, the city will have access to the money for cleanup and monitoring of the industrial solvent. The city will make sure the chemicals do not reach Lodi’s drinking water wells, install carbon filtration on any wells that are affected, and install a treatment system to remove the contamination.…