Fracking Goes to the Big City…Los Angeles

Monday, April 16, 2012
Oil Field, Inglewood (Photo-David Roy, InsideClimate News)
Having caused drinking water contamination and outbreaks of earthquakes in rural regions in Montana, Oklahoma, Ohio, Arkansas and Pennsylvania, the controversial practice known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” has gone Hollywood. Residents of the Culver City-Inglewood section of the Los Angeles area have learned that the energy company Plains Exploration and Production (PXP) recently conducted fracking tests in the Inglewood Oil Field, a 1,000-acre site where more than 1,600 oil wells have been drilled since the 1920s.
 
The nation’s largest urban oil field, Inglewood is surrounded by residential neighborhoods where 300,000 people (more than 200,000 of them non-white) live within a three-mile radius, and have been complaining for decades about pollution from oil drilling. In 2006 a release of noxious gases led to a successful lawsuit against Los Angeles County for stronger protections from the health consequences of living so close to an oil field. A settlement reached last year reduced the number of wells PXP could drill and obligated it to conduct a study of the feasibility and impact of fracking at the oil field, which would be the first study on the impact of fracking in California, including its impact on groundwater.
 
Production at Inglewood had been declining, but the rising price of oil has apparently convinced PXP that fracking could extract the remaining oil profitably. In fracking, energy companies use powerful pumps to force a pressurized mix of water and chemicals into deep layers of rock-like shale, causing fractures, which allow the extraction of otherwise unavailable natural gas or oil.
 
As nearly two-thirds of U.S. shale oil deposits are found in California, it was only a matter of time before the issue would begin to roil the Golden State. The energy industry last year killed state legislation that would have required companies to disclose what they put into the ground, as they must in at least nine other states. This year, the legislature is considering two bills that would require frackers to register the chemicals they use on a public website and notify property owners before drilling or fracking occurs near their land. State regulators would also have to identify on its website which wells have been hydraulically fractured.
 
At the same time, however, the administration of Governor Jerry Brown has been hoping to boost the state’s sluggish economy by easing rules for oil drilling in California, firing two top regulators last year over permitting delays. At the federal level, President Barack Obama has signed an executive order creating a task force to coordinate federal oversight of “unconventional” domestic natural-gas development, including fracking.
-Matt Bewig
 
To Learn More:
Fracking in L.A.? Test Wells at Urban Oil Field Spark Water Worries (by Ngoc Nguyen, New America Media/InsideClimate News)

Comments

Tammy 2 years ago
but yet we are still willing to drive our cars and use the gas and oil in other ways. so, aren't we all guity?
Daniel 2 years ago
i’m the furthest thing from an alarmist, but the fact that there are historical cases where hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,”has contaminated community’s daily water supply to the point where they cannot even use the water that comes from their faucets. imagine never being able to turn shower, kitchen tap, sprinkler system, garden hoses because of the toxic waste water/chemicals that would be released into one’s home, apartment, condo etc. please explain how injecting large amounts of chemicals (up to 500 industrial lethal chemicals) into the ground would not harm the natural ecosystems, aquifers and additional water supplies? the pollutants used are unhealthy to the people, animals and environment? i’m curious if there are other concerned citizens who live around these oil fields. heck, have not even discussed the fracking earthquakes. this is common knowledge and people are now beginning to openly discuss this vital issue on national newswires. one day my daughter was flipping through the channels when we came across this interesting documentary on fracking in the state of pennsylvania. i'm not here to promote it and won't mention it by name, but it is worth a watch. it was also an oscar-nominated film. watch it and come to your own conclusion. i wish we can all live in an environment free of man made toxic chemicals.

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