By Andrew Grinberg, California Oil and Gas Program Manager – Follow Andrew on Twitter (@AndrewBGrinberg)
Yesterday the California Department of Conservation (DOC) and Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) issued draft emergency regulations on aquifer exemptions under the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act. The emergency regulations describe the process that the state will use for submitting applications to US EPA for exempting aquifers which enable oil and gas companies to inject fluids for waste disposal or enhance oil recovery (EOR). The text of the draft regulations and how to submit a comment can be viewed here.
We are glad that the state is finally taking action. Steps like including the State Water Board in the exemption process and requiring public hearings are positive and should be put into permanent statute. That’s why Clean Water Action is sponsoring Assembly Bill 356 (Williams) to bring these permanent changes to the aquifer exemption process.
But, these emergency regulations just don’t go far enough to protect Californians or our water. DOGGR should immediately shut down the over 2,000 active injection wells that are operating in non-exempt aquifers in violation of the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act. As long as the state allows injection to occur in non-exempt aquifers, these regulations fail to protect many potential sources of drinking water. Read the rest of this entry »