I attended the forum on “fracking” on May 6, where I learned that California has very different geology — that our oil is much thicker and deeper and may require the injection of more toxic diluents to pump it to the surface. What happens to the extracted toxins? Apparently, there has already been contamination of groundwater in Kern County, where ponded drilling waste seeped into the aquifer and destroyed farmers’ orchards.
We may have more attentive regulatory bodies in California, but despite regulations and agencies, accidents occur routinely due to inadequate inspection, short-cutting by industry, poor material, or just bad luck. Witness the San Francisco Bay Bridge bolt failure, the Burlingame PG&E gas pipe explosion, and the Richmond Chevron refinery fire.
Can we trust the drilling industry to be different? Will fracking despoil our natural landscape, increase noise and truck traffic and demand more of our already scarce water? And won’t this extracted oil be sold to China and other countries, where increasing consumption will add more critical CO2 to our severely strained atmosphere ?
I came away — not with a sense of safety — but even more concerned for our already fragile environment.