Friday, November 8, 2013

Environmental Coalition Seeks Regulation of Oil Drilling Waste in California

A coalition of environmental groups is pressuring the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board to more strongly regulate the dumping of drilling waste containing toxic substances into unlined pits in the ground. This comes as oil production that increasingly uses hydraulic fracturing and acidizing expands in the Monterey Shale formation underlying Central and Southern California. Next month the agency proposes to extend for another five years its waiver to exempt the discharge of so-called drilling muds from environmental oversight. This week the Center for Biological Diversity sent a letter to the Water Board asking that they withhold the exemption, saying the decision would pose a continued threat to public health and the environment. The waiver is set to expire on December 4th. According to the state’s records, over 4800 new wells were drilled in California in 2012. Vic Bedoian reports from Fresno.