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A whole lot of FRACKING going on! California Grange calls for Statewide Fracking ban

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A whole lot of FRACKING going on!
California Grange calls for Statewide Fracking ban

by Connie Madden

We tend to think if gas prices go down, there’s some deal with Saudi Arabia, right? Not this time. Gas prices in California are currently as much as 50cents down PER GALLON due to large amounts of dirty fracked shale oil being sucked from deep beneath us – but we’re paying a huge price for this “savings” – major pollution of our aquifirs through injection of chemical-laced water into the wells - has been identified in a report Oct. 6th by the Center for Biologic Diversity (CBD), a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 775,000 members.

California State Grange, of which Petaluma Grange is a part, just voted to ban fracking in our State, its resolution now going to a lobbyist in Sacramento for collaboration with electeds to create legislation.  Grange members are also doing a letter campaign to legislators and at least two Counties, Mendocino and San Benito County in Southern CA, have placed banning fracking on their Nov. 4th ballots.

“Almost 3 billion gallons of oil industry wastewater have been illegally dumped into central California aquifers that supply drinking water and farming irrigation, according to state documents obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity. The wastewater entered the aquifers through at least nine injection disposal wells used by the oil industry to dispose of waste contaminated with fracking fluids and other pollutants,” they report.

“The documents also reveal that Central Valley Water Board testing found high levels of arsenic, thallium and nitrates contaminants sometimes found in oil industry wastewater in water-supply wells near these waste-disposal operations.”

“Clean water is one of California’s most crucial resources, and these documents make it clear that state regulators have utterly failed to protect our water from oil industry pollution,” said Hollin Kretzmann, a Center attorney.”

The state’s Water Board confirmed beyond doubt that at least nine wastewater disposal wells have been injecting waste into aquifers that contain high-quality water that is supposed to be protected under federal and state law.

Thallium is an extremely toxic chemical commonly used in rat poison. Arsenic is a toxic chemical that can cause cancer. Some studies show that even low-level exposure to arsenic in drinking water can compromise the immune system’s ability to fight illness.
“Arsenic and thallium are extremely dangerous chemicals,” said Timothy Krantz, a professor of environmental studies at the University of Redlands. “The fact that high concentrations are showing up in multiple water wells close to wastewater injection sites raises 

Tom Hayden, Former California State Senator, author, and long-time activist, states this injection of toxics is “A pretty clear violation of Proposition 65.” – the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986.”  

The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) boils Proposition 65 down to this: (from the OEHHA document Proposition 65 in Plain Language):

Proposition 65 requires businesses to notify Californians about significant amounts of chemicals in the products they purchase, in their homes or workplaces, or that are released into the environment. By providing this information, Proposition 65 enables Californians to make informed decisions about protecting themselves from exposure to these chemicals. Proposition 65 also prohibits California businesses from knowingly discharging significant amounts of listed chemicals into sources of drinking water. 

Bill McKibben, Author/activist, writing Why Not Frack? for New York Review of Books, presents a true FRACKING horror story:

“…Victoria Switzer and Ken Ely, neighbors who leased their land to Cabot Oil and Gas in the early days of the boom, then turned into adversaries of the company that did the drilling. They had good reason: before long, drinking water from their wells had turned brown. A neighbor’s well exploded, apparently because of “methane migration” from the fracking operations. Cabot insisted it wasn’t at fault; for a while it bought bottled water for the neighborhood, but eventually it stopped doing even that. It was, in other words, a kind of horror show, the sort of tragedy that usually accompanies largely unregulated booms. (And this one has been largely unregulated—the Pittsburgh newspaper reported in January that the state doesn’t even know where many of the wells in the state have been drilled, because companies, which are supposed to report on their operations, often don’t bother.)”

Connie Madden is a Petaluma author and activist and the Petaluma Grange Lecturer, arranging for guest speakers, films and programs