Fracking California

California’s best kept secret since leaky pipes at San Onofre, earthquake faults under Diablo Canyon, the $54 million hidden slush fund at State Parks, and the Governator’s maid, is that the state already hosts at least 628 “fracked” oil wells.

While the rest of the nation is in an uproar to immediately ban a practice that is known to poison water tables and destroy drinking water, the head of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) Catherine Reheis-Boyd, declared in a release to the Sacramento Bee that hydraulic fracking is “safe for California.” She claimed in the article “virtually all California drilling activities are overseen by one or more agencies. Existing regulations already provide for extensive environmental protection and worker and public safety.”

Facts indicate that the exact opposite is true.

Ms. Reheis-Boyd, president and spokesperson for the WSPA, also served as Chair for the controversial Marine Life Protection Act “Initiative,” revealing stark levels of deception and corruption, both with the “Initiative,” and California politics in general.

Last week, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced new lease-sales for Bureau of Land Management lands in California for oil and natural gas “fracking” development. Offshore areas are showing up on maps, indicating reservoirs of underwater deposits that lie under the ocean off Santa Barbara and Southern California. It’s clear that government and petroleum officials want to “frack” in the very same areas Reheis-Boyd was appointed to oversee as guardian of marine habitat protection, for the MLPA “Initiative.”

What’s becoming obvious is that Reheis-Boyd’s expedient presence as Chairwoman of the “Blue Ribbon Task Force” for the MLPAI was a ploy by the oil industry, to make sure no restrictions were applied against drilling or fracking in or around so-called marine protected areas.

Objections to the obvious conflict of interest of Reheis-Boyd’s appointment to the top level of the MLPA “Initiative” fell upon deaf ears during the MLPAI’s run, and were in fact actively squelched by Kearns and West energy interest facilitators, during the quasi “public process,” a process which exclusively forced fishing and food gathering interests off the ocean in areas now apparently slated to become sacrifice zones for oil industry pollution.

Meanwhile, an October story by Bay Area NBC reporter Stephen Stock revealed that California already has numerous “fracked” wells — that state regulators have failed to even keep track of.

Fracking has been taking place for over five decades in Sacramento, Monterey, Los Angeles and Kern Counties, without any state oversight or regulation whatsoever.

According to Tim Kustic, chief oil and gas supervisor at the Department of Conservation, “We don’t have an exact number of how many wells in the state are fracture stimulated.”

In California, the practice of fracking does not even require a permit. According to an Aug. 2012 article in San Luis Obispo’s ‘New Times’ — “The oil company drilling under Lyon’s…ranch and vineyard wasn’t required to obtain a permit or notify anyone before it began high-pressure pumping of a mix of water, sand, and a cocktail of “trade secret” chemicals, deep down into the earth. Not Lyons, not the county, not the state, not even the federal overseers of oil and gas drilling.”

Negligent California lawmakers and supervisors are scrambling to catch up with the rest of the nation and the world, in regulating an alarming practice that many believe sacrifices pure, unpolluted water for natural gas. Residents in the above mentioned counties may be well-advised to start having their water tested.

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