California’s best kept secret since leaky pipes at San Onofre, earthquake faults under Diablo Canyon, the $54 million hidden slush funds at State Parks, or the Governator’s maid, is that the state is already host to at least 628 “fracked” oil wells.
While the rest of the nation is in an uproar to immediately ban a practice that is well-known to poison the water table and destroy drinking water, the head of the Western States Petroleum Association, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, declared in a release to the Sacramento Bee that hydraulic fracking is “safe for California.” Rehis-Boyd claimed in the article that *”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. The president and spokesperson for the WSPA also served as Chair for the controversial Marine Life Protection Act “Initiative,” revealing the stark levels of deception and corruption at the “Initiative,” and in 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 “fracking” development. Offshore areas are showing up on maps: reservoirs of underwater natural gas 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 a “guardian” of marine habitat protection, for the MLPA “Initiative.”
What’s becoming obvious is that Reheis-Boyd’s expedient presence on the “Blue Ribbon Task Force” for the MLPAI was a ploy for the oil industry to make sure no restrictions applied against drilling or fracking in or around so-called marine protected areas. Objections to the obvious conflict of interest of Reheis-Boyd at the top level of the MLPAI “Initiative” fell upon deaf ears during the MLPAI’s run, and were in fact actively discouraged by the Kearns and West energy interest facilitators during the quasi “public process,” during which fishing and food gathering interests were exclusively thrown off areas of ocean 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.
California law makers and supervisors are scrambling to catch up with the rest of the country and the world, in regulating an alarming practice that many believe sacrifices pure, unpolluted water for natural gas.