Photo retrieved from: www.earthfirst.wordpress.com
“Yes, California. Contrary to what some might think, the practice of fracking is not limited to the eastern states and Colorado, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. It is alive and well in the Golden State—and has been for some time. Fracking has been going on in California since the 1950s, according to an article published in the Sacramento News & Review (see “Fracking in Sacramento: Gasland cometh?” Aug. 25, 2011). Though mostly confined to the southern counties of Kern, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Ventura, fracking is also taking place in Monterey County (the Monterey Shale is rich in extractable subterranean resources) and Sacramento County.
Closer to home, Denver-based gas and oil company Venoco Inc. operates fracking wells “in the Grimes gas fields in Sutter County and Willows field in Glenn County,” as SN&R correspondent Cosmo Garvin wrote in March of this year (see “Oh, frack!” March 29, 2012).
Though there is no evidence of fracking taking place in Butte County, Garcia is concerned about the encroachment of fracking concerns into the North State. “Fracking is currently producing most of the natural gas [in this country], because they’re going after areas that were previously unattainable,” Garcia said. “Currently, oil and gas companies are going throughout California approaching farmers and other rural people and trying to buy their mineral rights.” Garcia said that when he appeared on a call-in show last year on local community radio station KZFR,” “this farmer [from Colusa County] called me up and said Venoco wanted to buy his mineral rights and he said, ‘no.’”
Read more: Earth First!
Photo retrieved from: www.sacbee.com
“Now, this little one-road town of Los Alamos is drawing attention to what many say is a largely unmonitored practice in California, the country’s second-largest oil producer. The discovery that fracking has quietly been going on for years in California has galvanized oil foes and led to proposed legislation that would regulate the practice and make companies disclose the chemicals they use, the amount of water they’re pumping and where they are fracking.
This comes as welcome news to Steve Lyons, who doesn’t own the mineral rights on his ranch in Los Alamos and has been trying to get a precise list of chemicals that Denver-based Venoco Inc. has been injecting so he can test his water. His 2,500 acre ranch just off a rural two-lane highway unfurls into a lush valley of grape vines and oak trees. Cows stroll past bobbing pump jacks just up the road from strawberry fields.
“Once the water gets contaminated it’s not easy to reverse that and if we don’t have water there’s no reason to have land,” he said. “We just last week tested the water from our wells for chemicals but one of the problems is we don’t know what to test for.”
The Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources or DOGGR, which oversees drilling, has said it does not know where and how often fracking occurs in California because budget constraints have prevented them from developing regulations to address the practice. While the agency requires drilling permits and enforces groundwater protections, once those permits are acquired, drillers are allowed to employ techniques such as fracking to get the oil out of the ground without additional reporting.”
Read more: The Sacramento Bee