By Carolina de Mello, Steven Feher, Susan Rahman & Kenn Burrows | Project Censored
Editor’s Note: We are almost done with our countdown of the latest Project Censored Top 25. Here is #2. As always, please share with your family and friends these important, largely overlooked stories so that we can all be more well-informed citizens. Thank you.
California state documents obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity in October 2014 revealed that the oil industry had illegally dumped almost three billion gallons of wastewater from fracking (hydraulic fracturing to extract oil and gas) into central California aquifers. According to the Center for Biological Diversity report, the leaking occurred through at least nine injection disposal wells used by the oil industry to dispose of contaminated waste.
The affected aquifers supply water for human consumption and for irrigation of crops for human consumption. The documents also revealed that water supply wells located close to wastewater injection sites were tested and found to have high levels of arsenic, thallium, and nitrates, all toxic chemicals linked to the oil industry’s wastewater.
According to the documents obtained by the Center, the California State Water Resources Control Board admitted that an additional nineteen wells could have been leaking wastewater into protected aquifers. One state agency official claimed that errors in the permitting process for wastewater injection could have occurred in multiple places. Adding to the magnitude of the danger, toxic chemicals such as benzene can migrate into water sources over a period of years, making accurate risk assessment difficult.
A previous study by the Center for Biological Diversity showed that “54 percent of California’s 1,553 active and new wastewater injection wells are within 10 miles of a recently active fault (active in the past 200 years).” The findings “raise significant concerns,” this report’s authors wrote, “because the distance from a wastewater injection well to a fault is a key risk factor influencing whether a well may induce an earthquake.” Microseismic activity as a result of underground injection wells has been well documented in other states such as Oklahoma and Texas.
The Center for Biological Diversity report’s revelations about water contamination came amidst legislative deliberation to regulate fracking in California. As both Donny Shaw of MapLight and Dan Bacher for IndyBay reported in May 2014, over the past five years, the oil industry has lobbied powerfully in the California state legislature, spending over sixty-three million dollars in efforts to persuade state policymakers to permit the continuation and expansion of fracking. In May 2014, state senators rejected a fracking moratorium bill, SB 1132. The senators who voted against the moratorium received fourteen times more money in campaign contributions from the oil industry than those who voted for it. Shaw quoted MapLight figures: senators voting “No” on the moratorium bill received, on average, $24,981 from the oil and gas industry, while those who voted “Yes” received just $1,772 on average. “If the five active senators who abstained from voting—all Democrats—voted in favor, the moratorium would have passed.” The Democrats who abstained received, on average, 4.5 times as much money as those who voted “Yes.”
Dan Bacher, “Massive Dumping of Wastewater into Aquifers Shows Big Oil’s Power in California,” IndyBay, October 11, 2014, http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/10/11/18762739.php.
“California Aquifers Contaminated with Billions of Gallons of Fracking Wastewater,” Russia Today, October 11, 2014, http://rt.com/usa/194620-california-aquifers-fracking-contamination/.
Donny Shaw, “CA Senators Voting NO on Fracking Moratorium Received 14x More from Oil & Gas Industry,” MapLight, June 3, 2014, http://maplight.org/content/ca-senators-voting-no-on-fracking-moratorium-received-14x-more-from-oil-and-gas-industry.
Dan Bacher, “Senators Opposing Fracking Moratorium Received 14x More Money from Big Oil,” IndyBay, June 7, 2014, http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/06/07/18757051.php.
Originally entitled: “#2 Oil Industry Illegally Dumps Fracking Wastewater”
Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield (MA), New England & “virtually” the world, with his website. He can also be reached at [email protected]