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CALIFORNIA FRACKING

Dont Frack With California Contaminated water. Greenhouse gas pollution. Dead wildlife. And grave threats to public health. Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing and the industrial development that comes with it have left a grim trail of damage across America. This damaging oil and gasdrilling technique involves injecting millions of gallons of highly pressurized water, sand and toxic chemicals deep into the earth. Now fracking has become a major issue in the Golden State. But Californians still have time to safeguard their water, air, wildlife and health from this dangerous and poorly regulated form of oil and gas production. And the Center's helping that happen. California officials must move quickly to address this dangerous practice. To protect our health and future, fracking should be banned in California. Fracking is already taking place in at least nine California counties, and rising oil prices are sparking interest in doing it on other sites atop the Monterey Shale, a geological formation that holds an estimated 14 billion barrels of oil. Uncontrolled, fracking emits large amounts of the potent greenhouse gas methane and other air pollutants. It undermines urgent efforts to head off catastrophic climate change. Fracking routinely employs numerous toxic chemicals, including methanol, benzene, naphthalene and trimethylbenzene. It can also expose people to harm from lead, arsenic and radioactivity that are brought back to the surface with fracking flowback fluid. It also requires an enormous amount of water a single horizontal well can use more than 5 million gallons. Water-contamination problems

associated with fracking have been documented in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wyoming. Wildlife is also at risk. In California, the pollution and development associated with fracking threaten endangered species like the California condor, San Joaquin kit fox and blunt-nosed leopard lizard. To protect California's future, we need to act now. Learn more about fracking and please take action against it today.

Fracking in California: Questions and Concerns


California is experiencing a fracking boom. But what is fracking, really? And what risks does it pose to the Golden State? Q: What is fracking? 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 wildlife and human health. Q: Where is fracking being done in California? Fracking has been documented in nine California counties Colusa, Glenn, Kern, Los Angeles, Monterey, Sacramento, Santa Barbara, Sutter and Ventura as well as in state waters off Los Angeles. In Kern County, Californias major oil-producing county, Halliburton estimates that 50 percent to 60 percent of new oil wells are fracked. But fracking is likely being done elsewhere in California, going unmonitored and untracked by state officials. Q: How can fracking contaminate water? Fracking requires an enormous amount of water up to 5 million gallons per well. Fracking also routinely employs chemicals like methanol, lead, arsenic, chromium 6 and benzene. About 25 percent of fracking chemicals could cause cancer, according to scientists with the Endocrine Disruption Exchange, the only organization that focuses primarily on the human health and environmental problems caused by low-dose and/or ambient exposure to chemicals that interfere with development and function, called endocrine disruptors. Evidence is mounting throughout the country that these chemicals are making their way into aquifers and drinking water. 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. Q: How can fracking contaminate air?

Fracking can release potentially dangerous petroleum hydrocarbons, including benzene, toluene and xylene. It can also increase levels of ground-level ozone, a key risk factor for respiratory illness. Air pollution caused by fracking may contribute to health problems in people living near natural-gas drilling sites, according to a study by researchers with the Colorado School of Public Health. Q: How does fracking worsen climate change? Fracking often releases large amounts of methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas. Fracking also allows access to huge fossil fuel deposits once beyond the reach of drilling. In California, rising oil prices are driving up interest in fracking on the Monterey Shale, a geological formation under the San Joaquin and the Los Angeles basins that holds an estimated 15 billion barrels of oil. 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 oil now safely sequestered in our shale formations? We shouldnt. Q: How does fracking threaten wildlife? Endangered species like the California condor, San Joaquin kit fox and blunt-nosed leopard lizard live in places where fracking is likely to expand. These animals can be harmed and killed in many ways by fracking and the industrial development that accompanies it. Learn more. Q: Dont state and federal laws protect our wildlife, and us, from fracking? Fracking is poorly regulated. In 2005, Congress exempted fracking from the federal Safe Water Drinking Act, severely limiting protections for water quality. The industry has also been free, until recently, to spew essentially unlimited air pollution during fracking. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency just finalized new rules called the "New Source Performance Standards" under the Clean Air Act that will limit air pollutants from fracked gas wells, but the rules dont cover oil wells, dont set limits on methane release and will take some time to kick in, in any case. California officials have paid little attention to the issue of fracking until recently. The Department of Conservations Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources acknowledges that it doesnt even monitor let along regulate fracking. California regulators dont keep track of when or where fracking is being done in the state or what chemicals are being used in the process. As controversy has grown, state regulators and lawmakers have begun to consider monitoring fracking but they need to hear from concerned members of the public to pressure them into confronting and countering the problems this dangerous practice presents. Q: But hasnt fracking been done in California for many years? Yes, but todays fracking techniques are new and pose new dangers. Technological changes have facilitated an explosion of drilling in areas where, even a decade ago, companies couldnt recover oil and gas profitably. 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. As fracking methods have changed and fracking has expanded, so has the threat to public health and the environment.

METHANE
THE PROBLEM
Methane in the Earth's atmosphere is an important greenhouse gas, so far accounting for about 20 percent of the global warming caused by human activity more than any other gas except CO2. It has a global warming potential of 25 over a 100-year period, meaning that a methane emission will have 25 times the impact on temperature of a CO2 emission of the same mass over the next 100 years. Methane has a big impact over a brief period a lifetime of about 12 years in the atmosphere whereas CO2 has a smaller impact for a far longer period of more than 100 years. An estimated 60 percent of the Earths methane emissions are attributable to human activity, with landfills, livestock husbandry, fossil fuel development, and rice agriculture as major causes. Methane is also naturally released by the decay of organic matter in wetlands. Less significant natural sources include termites, oceans, and release from methane deposits buried deep within the Earth. Currently, the amount of methane released by those deposits is slight in comparison to other sources but shifts in the planets stability, of the magnitude expected from continued rapid global warming, could cause massive releases of stored methane. In particular, Arctic methane could prove to be the linchpin for runaway global warming. Thousands of years ago, billions of tons of methane were created by decaying Arctic plants, which now lies frozen in permafrost and trapped in the ocean floor. As the Arctic warms, this methane will likely be freed, greatly accelerating warming. Analysis of air bubbles trapped in ice sheets shows that methane is more abundant in the Earths atmosphere now than at any time during the past 400,000 years. Global average atmospheric concentrations of methane have increased from approximately 700 parts per billion by volume in 1750 at the time of the Industrial Revolution to roughly 1,800 parts per billion in 1998. Levels of the gas in the atmosphere had held steady since 1998, then suddenly spiked in 2007, when National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration studies show they increased by 27 million tons. Researchers confirmed this finding in October 2008; they believe that unusually warm conditions over Siberia affected methane levels in the Northern Hemisphere by increasing the amount of methane produced by bacteria in Siberian wetlands. Scientists are not sure whether the methane spike signals the beginning of a long-term, massive release or is a one-time blip, but say that given methanes power to warm the climate, even a small increase is cause for concern. Unleashing the methane reservoir could potentially warm the Earth tens of degrees; a violent opening of this methane ice (also known as clathrates), according to some scientists, may have triggered a catastrophic climate change and reorganization of the ocean and atmosphere around 635 million years ago.

THE SOLUTION
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that methane volumes equivalent to taking 90 million cars and light trucks off the road could be achieved globally by 2020 at a cost benefit or at no cost. In the United States alone, that would be the equivalent of taking more than 12 million cars and light trucks off the road. And the EPA analysis doesnt even include the value of significant air-quality and health benefits that would accompany methane reductions: Studies have found that reducing global methane emissions by 20 percent would save 370,000 lives between 2010 and 2030, due to the decrease in ozone-related cardiovascular, respiratory, and other health impacts. EPA may be underestimating available no-cost and low-cost methane mitigation options, but even its conservative analysis clearly demonstrates the opportunities available in methane control. Enormous reductions can be achieved with currently available technology, while mandatory greenhouse gas regulation would speed the development and deployment of new technology and mitigation options, making much deeper reductions feasible in the near future. But the key is rapid action: Methane needs to be dealt with immediately through strong regulation to sharply restrict emissions. Because of the urgency of the problem, and the need to address methane now, longer-term attempts to address the crisis will not be sufficient.

Climate Change Is Here Now


The evidence of climate change is all around us. Every day, new stories and scientific studies pour in documenting impacts of climate change were already experiencing. The message is clear: Climate change is not an abstract problem for the future. Climate change is happening now, we are causing it, and the longer we wait to act, the more we lose and the more difficult the problem will be to solve. The Center for Biological Diversitys Climate Law Institute works every day in the legal, government and political arenas to confront global warming, which poses the greatest threat in human history to the natural systems that sustain life. This site gathers many contemporary stories and studies of climate change; the range of impacts is vast. Polar bears are starving and drowning and Antarctic penguins face a diminished food supply as the sea ice melts beneath them. Coral reefs are suffering massive die-offs as ocean waters become too warm. Droughts, floods, blizzards, heat waves and other extreme weather events are increasing in frequency. Food and water supplies are becoming more unstable. Our health is suffering, and hundreds of thousands of people die climate-related deaths each year as excessive heat, extreme weather and climate change-exacerbated pollutants and diseases take their toll. Click on the headers below for links to studies and stories on how climate change is affecting us right now. Temperatures rising: The Earths surface is growing ever hotter. The decade from 2000 to 2010 was the warmest on record, and 2005 and 2010 tied for the hottest years on record. Extreme weather: Extreme weather events such as droughts, floods and blizzards are striking with increased frequency, with sometimes deadly consequences for people and wildlife. Public health: Millions of people are suffering from climate-related health impacts, and hundreds of thousands of people each year die climate-related deaths from excessive heat, extreme weather and climate change-exacerbated pollutants and disease.

Species endangerment: Many animals and plants are losing their habitats and food sources, struggling to move poleward and upward to keep pace with climate change, shifting the timing of their breeding and migration, and disappearing as populations die out. Ocean acidification: The oceans have become 30 percent more acidic due to their uptake of human-produced carbon dioxide, which is harming ocean life from shellfish to corals as they struggle to build the shells and skeletons they need to survive. Food and water security: Climate change is reducing food security as crop growth and yields diminish; droughts, floods and changes in snowpack are disrupting water supplies. Melting ice: The worlds ice is rapidly melting away, raising sea level, threatening water supplies and jeopardizing ice-dependent animals like the polar bear. Arctic summer sea ice is half the area and thickness it was several decades ago, alpine glaciers are in near-global retreat, and the giant Greenland and west Antarctic ice sheets are melting at an accelerating pace. Sea-level rise: Global sea level rose at an average rate of 3.3 millimeters per year in recent decades (1993 to 2006), and in some regions of the world it is rising even faster, threatening wildlife on coasts and low-lying islands as well as 40 percent of the worlds population that lives within 60 miles of the coast. The small island nation of Tuvalu in the South Pacific has already started evacuating its people because of rising sea levels. As early as the 1850s, scientists began predicting that greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels would eventually lead to the warming of the Earths surface. Scientists began detecting the fingerprints of climate change in the 1980s, and the impacts have been increasing for more than 20 years. In 2011, the immediacy and urgency of climate change is undeniable. Actions you can take now to make a difference: Support the Clean Air Act to fight climate change: Become a Clean Air Advocate. Support a 350 ppm target for CO2. Learn how species are being affected by climate change and how the Endangered Species Act can protect them. Choose from a range of solutions to fight the climate crisis both political and personal. Find out about the full scope of the Centers actions to fight the climate crisis, and support our work.

Fracking Threatens Californias Wildlife


Fracking in California poses serious risks to the states wildlife. Endangered species like California condors, San Joaquin kit foxes and blunt-nosed leopard lizards live in places where fracking is likely to expand, and these animals face direct and indirect harm. Fracking comes with intense industrial development, including multi-well pads and massive truck traffic. Thats because, unlike a pool of oil that can be accessed by a single well, shale formations are typically fractured in many places to extract fossil fuels, requiring multiple routes for trucks, adding habitat disturbance for wildlife and more pollution. Fracking is already common in other parts of the country. Research and reports from those areas suggest links between fracking and a wide range of threats to wildlife and domestic animals like horses, cats and dogs. Among the most serious:

Fish kills in Pennsylvania have been associated with the contamination of streams, creeks and wetlands by fracking fluid. Farmers, pet owners and veterinarians in five states Colorado, Louisiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas have reported deaths, serious illnesses and reproductive problems among wildlife, as well as horses, cattle, cats and dogs exposed to fracking infrastructure or wastewater. Withdrawing water from streams and rivers for fracking can threaten fisheries. Birds and other wildlife have been poisoned by chemical-laced water in wastewater ponds and tanks used to dispose of fracking fluids. Equipment used to withdraw water for fracking activity has been implicated in the introduction of invasive species into creeks and rivers, causing fish kills. Sensitive bird species and other wildlife can be affected by drilling noise, truck trips and other effects from gas drilling pads one study found that a single drilling station can affect 30 acres of forest. Effects on wildlife include degradation of habitat and interference with migration and reproduction. The diversity of species in streams close to fracking activity in Pennsylvania was found to be reduced, even though drilling was done in accordance with all current state rules. Wastewater ponds resulting from gas extraction provide breeding grounds for mosquitoes that can transmit diseases such as the deadly West Nile Virus to wild birds. In California, oil and gas companies are fracking in several counties with West Nile virus activity, including Kern County, which has had a human case. The six California counties in which fracking is likely to expand are home to about 100 plants and animals on the endangered species list. These species are already struggling against extinction fracking would only compound their troubles.

OUR CAMPAIGN
The Center is a trailblazer in the movement to stop dangerous, destructive fracking in California as the oil and gas extraction method becomes increasingly common in the state despite a startling lack of necessary regulation. In December 2011, the Center and the Sierra Club sued the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to prevent dangerous fracking in Monterey and Fresno counties. In July 2011, we and our allies had filed a formal protest against the BLMs plans to lease about 2,700 acres of delicate ecosystems in Monterey and Fresno counties for oil and gas activities, including fracking. The agency rejected our protest and green-lighted the lease without reviewing the potential effects of fracking. The lease sites include habitat for the San Joaquin kit fox protected as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act and as threatened under the California Endangered Species Act and for the blunt-nosed leopard lizard, protected as endangered under both Acts. This land also includes important watershed areas in Monterey County. Fracking under the leases would risk a great disaster for Californias wildlands, wildlife, water and air quality. To stop this disaster, in August 2012 we launched federal litigation challenging the Bureau of Land Management for failing to properly evaluate hydraulic fracturings threats to endangered species on public land leased for oil and gas activities in California.

The Center is also fighting fracking beyond California. In August 2011 we joined a broad coalition of public health, environmental, academic, faith-based and other organizations in sending a formal letter calling on President Barack Obama to do all he can to halt the expansion of fracking across the country.

The best way to protect California is to ban this dangerous drilling technique.

Take action against it today.


http://action.biologicaldiversity.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=10572 Contact: Kassie Siegel ksiegel@biologicaldiversity.org