(Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Image)

Last week, the California Department of Conservation released a draft of new regulations for hydraulic fracturing. “Fracking,” as the technique is often called, is a controversial method of oil-retrieval that injects water, sand and chemicals into the soil. We’ll discuss the proposed regulations, and what they could mean for California’s economy and environment.

At the close of this segment, Michael Krasny took a moment to remember Raul Ramirez, executive producer of Forum for over 20 years. Ramirez passed away on Friday, November 15.

Guests:
Lauren Sommer, science and environment reporter for KQED Public Radio
Bill Allayaud, California director of government affairs for the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit environmental advocacy group
Suzanne Noble, vice president of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), a petroleum trade association
Jason Marshall, chief deputy director, California Department of Conservation

  • Candace Wray

    So, if fracking has been going on in the San J. Valley for six decades, is that one of the
    reasons the area has such a demand for water and are demanding that it be supplied from the S.F. Bay Delta and northern Calif. river system through the proposed gargantuan tunnel system. Save our water! and our precious environment…

    • Bob Fry

      Unlikely…it was known from early last century that the SJV was fertile land, but dry, and only a large, government-sponsored water project could supply the necessary surface water to avoid mining the groundwater. So we’ve ended up with two government water projects, but water demand has increased even as supply did so water mining still occurs.

  • Bob Fry

    Tuned in late so I don’t know what’s been said before. Just want to make this comment:

    You pollute the air, then stop, the air clears within hours or days.
    You pollute the rivers, then stop, the water clears within days or weeks.
    You pollute the lakes, then stop, the water clears within months or a few years.
    But you pollute the groundwater, then stop, it basically doesn’t clean up on its own. You’re stuck with polluted groundwater or an expensive and decades-long artificial cleanup project.

    • Michelle Broe

      Once the aquifer is poisoned through fracking, that’s it, it can’t be cleaned up. The water supply is trashed.

  • Rob Hough

    It couldn’t be proven that oil drilling waste water causes later health problems for the ground water users as there are so many intervening variables and dilutions. (For example, I recall a coincidental situation of Texaco’s effluent into Pozo Creek and McFarland’s childhood cancer cluster. Just part of the background?).

    (I love the idea of a law preventing chemicals from migrating from the well.).

  • Chris OConnell

    Note to Lauren Sommer: “famous” and “infamous” are not synonyms. And just because Jerry Brown is critical of it along with Republicans does not make it objectively so.

  • Shamus Thornton

    I just finished listening to industry spokesperson Suzanne Noble say that groundwater is not affected by fracking because the oil and gas shale is a mile below the water table. The oil and gas have to come out past the water table to reach the surface, and it does come out under pressure around the pipes drilled down to retrieve it, but also through every other available route like springs and underground rivers. When the fracking chemicals, oil, and gas come out, they poison everything in those aquifers. I recommend that the listeners watch the documentaries Gasland I and II, in order to have a look at what fracking has done all across America.

    • Michelle Broe

      The documentary “Gasland”is a real eyeopener. It clearly shows how destructive fracking can be, Well worth watching if you care about your community, & communities across the country.

      • utera

        Unfortunately if you get your information from documentaries like “gasland” that’s a huge problem, like the “who killed the electric car” type docs, they tell you half truths and lead you to incorrect conclusions. I mean really, do double check everything, hasn’t the left been left with enough black eyes already after citing Michael moore directories only to find out later that he made things up…

        • Michelle Broe

          What is not to be trusted is the information from the oil & gas industry. It’s like trusting the tobacco industry telling you cigarettes are harmless. I think Gasland is an excellent source of information. And I have looked into this issue in depth.

  • Michelle Broe

    Fracking poses great risks to our precious water supply, Water is more precious than gold, necessary for the life of all species. We are already dealing with serious water shortages here in California, Where will the millions upon millions of gallons of water required for the fracking process come from ? It will deplete local water supplies & dry up nearby creeks, with great harm to wildlife. Will we end up subsidizing the oil & gas industries through higher water rates ?

    There is the danger of poisoning our aquifers with seepage from fracking fluids injected into the ground.Once these vast reservoirs of water are poisoned with these dangerous chemicals, there is no way to remove them. We are stuck with poisoned drinking water for millions of our citizens
    .Fracking produces huge amounts of wastewater containing large amounts of radioactivity. Held in ponds, this waste water frequently leaks, polluting ground water, creeks, rivers.Wastewater treatment plants are not able to remove this radioactivity.
    Fracking is not worth gambling with our water supply in order to enrich the oil & gas industry. And what about the potential threat for earthquakes, air pollution, land pollution, health hazards, climate change ?The oil & gas industry’s reassurances that fracking is safe can be trusted as much as the tobacco industry once claimed that cigarettes are harmless to your health.

    We need to keep our water supply safe, clean & secure. We need to ban fracking,

    • utera

      I’m sure you can say that about most modern production, everything has risks, but like it or not you are using a computer and the infrastructure built by our rational risks, you live in the relative comfort provided by this system. Either we get the energy here or someone else takes the risk over seas, so lets not be hypocritical, if we are going to use energy, we need to bear some of the risk ourselves. The entire out of sight out of mind mentality isn’t any better and like it or not that’s what these “just ban it” movements really resort to because you don’t have actual workable solutions. People trying to ban pipelines and fracking still drive their cars, heat their water and homes, they do not abstain, they have no real solutions, they just have a knee jerk position that doesn’t account for the complexity of the real world.

    • Michelle Broe

      Fracking directly puts our water supplies at risk , specifically those huge underground aquifers that supply drinking water to enormous swaths of our population.Fracking is for the most part unregulated, & the oil & gas industries have a bad record with leaks &spills. We need to use conservation, & not use so much energy in the first place, & we need to continue to develop alternative, green sources of energy. It can be done if we have the will. Or we can just sit back & watch the planet fry while species continue to go extinct on a daily basis. Welcome to the sixth mass extinction on Earth.

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