The California State Senate today held an oversight hearing in Sacramento to examine why California oil regulators issued hundreds of illegal permits that allowed the oil industry to inject toxic wastewater directly into protected aquifers.
Speakers at the Joint Hearing of the California Senate Natural Resources and Water and Environmental Quality Committees included Mark Nechodom, Ph.D, Director, Department of Conservation; Jonathan Bishop, Chief Deputy Director, State Water Resources Control Board; Matthew Rodriguez, Secretary, the California Environmental Protection Agency; and John Laird, Secretary, the California Natural Resources Agency.
“We all fell down on the job,” admitted Director Nechodom. He also said engineers at DOGGR monitoring wastewater injection were “not fully qualified.”
The hearing, “Ensuring Groundwater Protection: Is the Underground Injection Control Program Working?,” took place as California continues in a record drought and the oil industry is planning to expand the environmentally destructive practice of fracking in California.
Californians Against Fracking released the following statement on the conclusion of today’s hearing on the oil regulators’ failure to protect groundwater from oil industry pollution.
“The ongoing contamination of California’s drinking and irrigation water with toxic oil industry waste fluids is yet another example of why oil companies can’t be trusted to operate while ensuring the protection of our communities’ health and the environment,” Dan Jacobson, State Director of Environment California said on behalf of Californians Against Fracking.
“Years of negligence by state regulators as oil companies have ramped up the use of dangerous methods like fracking have compromised our most precious resource–water. All illegal injection wells need to be shut down immediately to stop the ongoing damage and Gov. Brown needs to put a system in place to ensure regulators are enforcing laws meant to protect our water and health. Allowing more fracking and other new techniques will compound this crisis. That’s why more than 150 groups have petitioned Gov. Brown for an immediate halt to fracking and other dangerous oil development,” said Jacoboson.