Fracking in California, USA

The four year fight in California by many environmentalist groups asking for a moratorium on fracking, still withough success


Description

The usage of fracking technique of high-pressure water, chemicals, and sand has been used in California since approximately 2011, primarily in order to drill for oil. The controversial technique has been used in at least 1,900 California oil and gas wells by different “Big Oil” companies operating in the State. Regulators and lawmakers were accused by different environmentalist groups to know only very little about how and where oil companies employ techniques of hydraulic fracturing all over California. Since the dangerous effects of fracking on air, water, wildlife, public health and climate became more and more public, different environmental and other civil society movements have formed to protest against the usage of fracking in California. Environmentalists have sued the federal government in order to prevent oil companies from fracking on public lands in Monterey and Fresno counties. The Governor of California, Jerry Brown, has also been heavily criticized for not restricting oil companies in their fracking activities as much as demanded by civil society. In 2013, fracking regulations were included in Senate Bill 4 in California. In a joint letter to Governor Brown, Environmental Groups responded to the passing of the regulations, saying that the rules included in the bill “do not consider long-term and wide-ranging environmental, public health and economic consequences of fracking in California”.

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Basic Data
NameFracking in California, USA
CountryUnited States of America
ProvinceCalifornia
SiteMonterey, Sacramento, Santa Barbara, Kern, Ventura, Los Angeles County
Accuracy of LocationLOW country/state level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Shale gas fracking
Water access rights and entitlements
Specific CommoditiesCrude oil
Natural Gas
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsFracking has been used in at least 1,900 California oil and gas wells by different “Big Oil” companies operating in the State.

Energy Information Administration estimated that Monterey would produce 550 million barrels. The campaign in defense of fracking has been led by the Western States Petroleum Asociation, whose companies account for 80% of California's oil and gas production.
Project Area (in hectares)At least 417,230 hectares have been leased for fracking
Type of PopulationUrban
Potential Affected PopulationPotential 10 – 14 million people (population of the counties where fracking is taking place)
Start Date01/01/2011
Company Names or State EnterprisesWestern States Petroleum Asociation (WSPA) from United States of America
Relevant government actorsState of California

Governor of California (Jerry Brown)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersEnvironment California: http://www.environmentcalifornia.org/

Clean Water Action, http://www.cleanwateraction.org/fracking-california

Sierra Club, www.sierraclub.org/

California against Fracking: http://californiansagainstfracking.org

Courage Campaign: https://www.couragecampaign.org/

Daily Kos: www.dailykos.com/

350.org: www.350.org

Food and Water Watch: www.foodandwaterwatch.org

Presente: http://www.presente.org

Forecast the Facts: forecastthefacts.org/
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationCreation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Desertification/Drought, Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Outcome
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCourt decision (undecided)
New legislation
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Development of AlternativesMoratorium on Fracking
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.In 2013, fracking regulations were included in Senate Bill 4 in California. In a joint letter to Governor Brown, Environmental Groups responded to the passing of the regulations, saying that the rules included in the bill “do not consider long-term and wide-ranging environmental, public health and economic consequences of fracking in California”, including global warming.

Since Governor Brown has continuously failed to address these violations and allegations of California residents, local social movements and residents are still fighting for a moratorium on fracking in California.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

Senate Bill No. 4, CHAPTER 313, An act to amend Sections 3213, 3215, 3236.5, and 3401 of, and to add Article 3 (commencing with Section 3150) to Chapter 1 of Division 3 of, the Public Resources Code, and to add Section 10783 to the Water Code, relating to oil and gas.[ Approved by Governor, September 20, 2013. Filed with Secretary of State, September 20, 2013. ]
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References

RIDLINGTON, Elizabeth; RUMPLER, John (2013), Fracking by the Numbers. Key Impacts of Dirty Drilling at the State and National Level, Environment CALIFORNIA, Research & Policy Center, October 2013,
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Links

California and fracking, Center for Media and Democracy, SourceWatch,
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Oil extraction method widely used in California without oversight, by Michal J. Mishak, Los Angeles Times, 14.03.2012,
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California City Becomes First to Vote to Ban Fracking, The Huffington Post, by Lydia O'Connor, 24.04.2014,
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California Shuts Down Injection of Fracking Waste to Proect Scarce Water, ProPublica, The Huffington Post, by Abrahm Lustgarten, 19.07.2014,
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Environmental Groups Respond to Gov. Brown's Fracking Regulations, Sacramento, California, 10.10.2014,
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Oil Industry in California Wastes 2 Million Gallons of Water Each Day, by Adam Scow and Hollin Kretzmann, Californians Against Fracking, 13.08.2014,
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If Jerry Brown Is So Green, Why Is He Allowing Fracking In California, The Nation, by Mark Hertsgaard, 18.06.2014,
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Confirmed: California Aquifers Contaminated With Billions of Gallons of Fracking Wastewater, Desmogblog, 07.10.2014,
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Media Links

NBC, Threat of Lawsuit over California Oil Drilling, Hundreds of wells being fracked in California, NBC Bay Area, The Investigative Unit, 29.08.2012,
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March in Oakland against fracking and climate change, February 2015 (video)
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Other Documents

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Meta Information
Last update31/08/2015
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