By Clarissa Toll |Staff Writer|
Gov. Jerry Brown proposed rules recently on fracking in California.
Fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing, is the process by which a mixture of chemicals and water are pumped deep into the ground at high pressures to extract oil or natural gas.
These drafted regulations include the necessity of those who conduct fracking to obtain permits from the state, notify neighboring areas of their processes and routine ground water testing.
The draft of rules are in response to the state law past last year on Well Stimulation (SB4).
According to Mark Nechodom, director of the state Department of Conservation, “We believe that once these proposed regulations go into effect at the start of 2015, we will have in place the strongest environmental and public health protections of any oil and gas producing state in the nation, while also ensuring that a key element in California’s economy can maintain its productivity.”
The fracking process has been considered a consistently controversial topic for the past few years.
Supporters believe fracking will create more jobs and more resources, while opponents believe the risk of pollution and damage to the Earth is too high.
Most supporters for fracking are prominent oil companies.
“These regulations are extensive, but strike the right balance,” said Catherine Reheis-Boyd, president of the Western States Petroleum Association, in response to the newly proposed rules.
Some environmentalists and organizations are speaking out against the process.
The Center of Biological Diversity stated, “It can also expose people to harm from lead, arsenic and radioactivity that are brought back to the surface with fracking flowback fluid.”
The Center explains fracking also requires large amounts of water, quoting the need of five million gallons per well.
The Center of Biological Diversity added, “Water-contamination problems associated with fracking have been documented in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wyoming.”
CSUSB professor Joan Fryxell of the Geology department stated that though the risks of contamination are there she believes, “If the geological evaluation is done properly and thoroughly, and the well hole engineering is also done carefully and correctly, very little risk exists with respect to water supply quality.”
According to savethetapwater.org, states such as New York, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin have banned fracking within their boarders.
Illinois recently proposed similar rules to California within their state.
According to the Chicago Tribune, environmentalists within the state are “livid” because they believe the rules will weaken laws already put in place by the state.
Student Thiam Cheatwood believes the state should be more concerned about what this process can do to our water and says there should be a better solution/law.
Although strongly opposed, researchers for the Western States Petroleum Association believe fracking could obtain 14 billion barrels of oil, create 2.8 million jobs, and could add $25 billion to state revenue.
Which when processed, 14 billion barrels of oil can become 588 gallons of gasoline.
California’s rules on fracking are set to take effect in January 2015, at that time the Department of Conservation will hold public comment hearings in Sacramento, Long Beach, Bakersfield, Salinas and Santa Maria.
More information on the rules can be found at leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.