Tell the State of California to Protect Drinking Water from Oil Companies

California is in the midst of a crippling drought, yet state regulators have been allowing oil companies to pump toxic waste water into drinking water sources.

Last month was California’s driest in recorded history. San Francisco had no rainfall at all in the month of January 2015. Why is San Francisco’s rainfall significant? It’s part of California’s Central Valley, where most of this drilling and waste water disposal takes place. Sacramento — also part of Central Valley — also had its driest January in history last month.

One concerned Care2 member is petitioning the California Department of Conservation to step in and stop letting oil and natural gas companies pollute California’s already-scarce drinking water supply. If you want to let the state know that you agree, you can sign it right here.

According to analysis by The San Francisco Chronicle, oil companies have drilled over 170 waste-disposal wells, where they dump waste water from oil drilling and processing right alongside sources of drinking water. These wells are located in aquifers that residents and farmers draw on for drinking water and to irrigate crops. They’re further tainting water in hundreds of other aquifers. These lower-quality water sources could instead have been treated and used for drinking and irrigation.

Kassie Siegel from the Center for Biological Diversity told The Chronicle, “It is an unfolding catastrophe, and itís essential that all oil and gas wastewater injection into underground drinking water stop immediately.”

California: Stop letting oil companies dump into drinking water sources!

A pump at work in California’s Central Valley

The Chronicle story calls this situation a “bureaucratic snafu” that began in 1983 when EPA gave states power to enforce the Safe Drinking Water Act. At the time, the state accidentally issued two agreements allowing drilling waste to be injected into two different sets of drinking water aquifers. Confusion grew from there, and as of today a total of “464 wells injected waste water into aquifers that were supposed to be protected, according to state data. That includes 94 wells drilled into the 11 aquifers that the state considered exempt and the EPA didnít.”

Of course, oil companies are claiming that shutting down these wells to protect drinking water would cost money and jobs. The chief executive of oil industry group California Independent Petroleum Association old The Chronicle, “If weíre not able to put the water back, thereís no other viable thing to do with it. If you were to shut down hundreds of injection wells, obviously thatís a lot of jobs, a lot of tax revenue.”

That’s exactly the kind of pressure from big oil that got California into this situation in the first place.

The industry argument also ignores the impact that California’s drought is having on the state economy. California produces more food than any other state in the U.S., and without clean water to irrigate crops, those food-producers are going to struggle. Those jobs just don’t matter to oil companies.

As of this writing, the tested aquifers have not been contaminated by these wells, but the threat is so great that EPA is threatening to take over control of regulating these water sources if the state of California doesn’t step up regulations. Don’t want to wait for more bureaucratic red tape? Get heard and sign Jen Johnson’s Care2 petition today!

If there’s an issue you care about in your community or the world, you can start a Care2 petition like Jen. Care2′s community of activists will join you in your effort and help you make a difference. Get started here.

 

77 comments

Magdalena J.
Past Member 2 years ago

Thank you!

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Paulinha Russell
Paulinha Russell2 years ago

Thanks.Signed time ago

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Jennifer H.
Jennifer H2 years ago

Previously signed. Thanks for sharing.

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Manuela C.
Manuela C2 years ago

Signed!

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Past Member 2 years ago

TY

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Lisa Zarafonetis
Lisa Z2 years ago

Signed & Shared.

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Katie and Bill D.
Katie & Bill D2 years ago

All drinking water should be protected!
Thank You

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Janis K.
Janis K2 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Dimitris Dallis
Past Member 2 years ago

Signed few days ago.
Thank you for posting :)

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JL A.
JL A2 years ago

have signed many petitions on this--thanks for making more aware of this problem and providing way to take action Becky

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