Southern California environment news and trends

Advocates criticize fracking rules at public workshop in downtown Los Angeles

Hydraulic Fracturing

Calif. Dept. of Conservation

California posted draft regulations online for hydraulic fracturing or fracking. Environmentalists say the practice can pollute the air and groundwater.

A public workshop in downtown Los Angeles on fracking has accelerated debate over what Californians should know about the oil and gas production method.  

The state Department of Conservation oversees permits for drilling oil and gas wells in California, but few rules govern the extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing - or fracking. State regulators might change that.

"What we’re really driving at is to make sure that the wells that hydraulic fracturing takes place through have integrity, that they can withstand the pressures that are going to be put on them during the hydraulic fracturing operation, and that they withstood them," Jason Marshall, the department’s deputy director, said Tuesday. "And so we’ve got pre- and post-evaluation."

Marshall said the state intends get data and information it needs from oil and gas companies.

But health advocates, environmental activists and concerned citizens aren’t so sure California’s proposed rules will require enough disclosure. They argue that the interests of companies in keeping trade secrets safe must be balanced with public health values.

The state will hold at least two more public hearings about fracking. The next one is set for Bakersfield in early March.  

 

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