LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Southland activists and California climate and water experts Wednesday called for officials to impose a moratorium on a controversial natural gas extraction method due to the statewide drought.
KNX 1070’s Megan Goldsby reports the effort follows the release of a study by climate scientists and environmental groups claiming the oil industry is wasting two million gallons of water every day using the “fracking” process.
Due to fracking, acidizing and cyclic steam injection, “Big Oil” wastes roughly three times the amount of water that flooded University of California, Los Angeles due to the recent water main break, according to an analysis of industry data reported to the California Department of Conservation, FracFocus and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
Brenna Norton, founder of Californians Against Fracking, said the water used in fossil fuel extraction methods – which mixes huge volumes of water with sand and chemicals to release oil and gas from shale and other rock formations – the water used in fracking and other extreme extraction techniques is permanently polluted with carcinogenic chemicals and is lost forever.
“In this time of drought, our water is just too precious,” Norton said. “We can’t have two million gallons of day that can never reenter the water cycle.”
By comparison, about 20,000 California homeowners use that much water in one day, according to Norton.
Last month, California officials reportedly ordered an emergency shutdown of 11 oil and gas waste injection sites out of concerns that companies are pumping fracking fluids and other toxic waste into drinking water aquifers.
City Councilmember Paul Koretz called upon Brown to “show his leadership” and enact an “immediate moratorium on fracking in California.
“The verdict is clear: fracking and clean, potable groundwater are not compatible,” said Koretz. “We cannot continue to risk our increasingly fragile water supply.”
The Los Angeles City Council is still working on finalizing a similar moratorium within city limits – an example Norton hopes will influence lawmakers in Sacramento.
“In LA, we’re trying to use more groundwater and clean it up,” she said. “We don’t need to be fracking over it and polluting it permanently.”