BLOGAction Needed: Protect California’s water from secret fracking chemicals

Action Needed: Protect California’s water from secret fracking chemicals

31 August, 2012
Published in Health & Beauty

Protect California's water from secret fracking chemicalsClick here to tell your State Senator to support bill AB 591 and keep fracking chemicals out of California’s water.

California’s water is threatened by toxic, carcinogenic chemicals — and we don’t even know what they are.

High Pressure Hydraulic Fracturing (or fracking) is a dangerous method of drilling for oil and gas that is responsible for contaminating water across the country. The practice is spreading at an alarming rate, and California’s huge Monterey Shale formation is one of the top prizes for frackers.

Astonishingly, thanks to the work of Dick Cheney and his secretive, industry-friendly 2005 energy policy, fracking has been exempted from EPA regulation, and as such, companies can largely conceal the long list of chemicals they pump deep underground, through our water table.

A vital new state law would change that, and set the strongest standards in the nation for fracking chemical disclosure.1 The bill, AB 591, has passed the Assembly, and is now in the State Senate, where the oil and gas industry’s numerous allies are working to stop it. We can’t let them. Please urge your senator to pass AB 591.

Tell your State Senator: Support AB 591 and keep secret chemicals out of California’s water!

A well is fracked by pumping hundreds of thousands – or even millions – of gallons of water and a cocktail of up to hundreds of tons of chemicals, thousands of feet underground at extremely high pressure, literally cracking the rock to release pockets of oil or gas.2

While Cheney’s “Halliburton Loophole” has allowed frackers to keep the list of fracking chemicals a secret, scientific examination reveals that the fluid can contain known endocrine disruptors and carcinogens, including benzene, xylene, toluene, and diesel fuel — and that’s just a few of the chemicals we know of.

That’s bad news, because these chemicals don’t just stay underground. Fracking fluids (along with oil and gas) can leak through well casings into our groundwater, poisoning water and literally causing it to light on fire.3 Above ground spills of fracking fluids are becoming increasingly common across the country. Rivers and lakes are being contaminated with the release of insufficiently treated waste water recovered from fracking operations.4

To properly regulate fracking, and protect our water in California, it’s essential that Californians and public officials understand what chemicals are being used by drilling companies.

Tell your State Senator: Support AB 591 and keep secret chemicals out of California’s water!

California’s Monterey shale extends over a huge swath of our state, from Monterey County and the Central Valley to the Northern Los Angeles area.

If oil and gas drillers are allowed to pump secret chemicals through our below ground water supplies, the consequences could be disastrous, and we might not even know what our water had been contaminated with.

AB 591 is a vital first step to regulate fracking in our state, and will help encourage needed action at the federal level. Please urge your senator to stand up to the oil and gas industry and pass AB 591 now.

Tell your State Senator: Support AB 591 and keep secret chemicals out of California’s water!

1. “Fracking Disclosure Bill Advances in California State Legislature,” Environmental Working Group, June 6, 2011
2. “Hydraulic Fracturing 101,” EARTHWORKS.
3. Burning Tap Water and More: GASLAND Exposes the Natural Gas Industry,” Treehugger, June 25, 2010.
4. Regulation Lax as Gas Wells’ Tainted Water Hits Rivers,” New York Times, February 26, 2011″