FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
In March of 2014, thousands of people from all over the state gathered in Sacramento to push Brown to ban fracking. We built our movement and made ourselves stronger by connecting, seeing one another, and using our collective voice. Now, a year later, we’re going to make that message hit home in Brown’s hometown: we need real climate leadership.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a method of oil and gas production that involves blasting millions of gallons of water, mixed with sand and toxic chemicals, under high pressure deep into the earth. Fracking breaks up rock formations to allow oil and gas extraction. But it can also pollute local air and water and endanger human health.
For more, see these fracking-specific FAQs:
Rising oil prices are driving up interest in exploiting oil in the Monterey Shale using extreme fossil fuel extraction techniques such as fracking. This geological formation under the San Joaquin and the Los Angeles basins may hold an estimated 13.7 billion barrels of recoverable shale oil. If fracking and similar techniques are not banned in the state, we could soon experience an extremely dangerous oil boom in California.
Water quality can also be threatened by methane contamination tied to drilling and the fracturing of rock formations. This problem has been highlighted by footage of people in fracked areas setting fire to methane-laced water from kitchen faucets.
Fracking can also expose people to harm from lead, arsenic and radioactivity that are brought back to the surface with fracking flowback fluid. Fracking also requires an enormous amount of water, and because fracking waste water contains dangerous toxins it generally cannot be cleaned and reused for other purposes. Especially during a historic drought, we cannot afford to permanently remove massive quantities of this precious resource from our state’s water supply.
Moreover, much of California’s oil is dirty, heavy crude. The California Air Resources Board scores many of the state’s oil fields as about as carbon intensive as oil from the infamous Alberta tar sands. As California strives to lead the fight to avoid a climate change catastrophe, why should we facilitate the release of carbon in billions of barrels of carbon-intensive oil now safely sequestered in our shale formations? We shouldn’t.
In September 2013 California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law called SB 4, which will result in extremely lax regulations on fracking in California. The law requires the Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) to establish regulations beginning in January 2015. DOGGR has proposed weak, industry-friendly regulations that will do little to protect public health or the environment from fracking.
DOGGR is also required to conduct a scientific study of the effects of fracking and other extreme fossil fuel extraction techniques by January 2015, as well as an environmental impact statement by July 2015. Think it’s irresponsible to draft regulations without knowing the potential threats of the activity that you’re regulating? We do too.
The bottom line: Fracking is an inherently dangerous practice, and the only way to protect ourselves is to halt use of this toxic technique. That’s why we’re asking the Governor to ban fracking in California.
Directional drilling, for example, is a new technique that has greatly expanded access to rock formations. Companies also employ high fluid volumes to fill horizontal “well bores” that sometimes extend for miles. And oil and gas producers are using new chemical concoctions collectively called “slick water” that allow injection fluid to flow rapidly enough to generate the high pressure needed to break apart rock.
Furthermore, if oil exploitation begins on a large scale in California, it will most likely happen through a combination of fracking and acidization. Acidization, another dangerously extreme fossil fuel extraction technique, is similar to fracking but employs hydrofluoric or hydrochloric acid to dissolve rock in order to release oil and gas. Acidization pollutes our air, and hydrofluoric acid is a hazardous substance that can leak and cause deadly accidents.
As fracking methods have changed and fracking has expanded, so has the threat to public health and the environment.
- Blue Clothing
- Musical Instruments
- Walking shoes
You shouldn’t bring:
- Weapons of any kind
- Drugs or illegal contraband
Governor Brown has said “Nothing is more fundamental than water.” If he truly believes that, why is he allowing 100-400 thousand gallons of fresh water for fracking instead of sustaining our communities? Amidst a climate-fueled drought, we’re forever removing from the hydrologic cycle scarce fresh water in order to forcefully extract and burn fossil fuels that will make this drought even worse. We’re focused on Governor Jerry Brown because Californians need real climate leadership to stop the local and climate impacts of fracking.