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A powerful oil industry lobbyist praised draft fracking regulations released by the Brown administration on November 15 for creating an "environmental platform" for the expansion of hydraulic fracking operations in California, while environmentalists condemned the regulations for falling short of protecting California lands and waters from fracking.

Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association and former Chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create alleged "marine protected areas" in Southern California, said she was pleased that the Department of Conservation and the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources have been able to "promptly release" draft hydraulic fracturing regulations.

"Governor Brown signed SB 4 less than two months ago, and the state has worked expeditiously to implement this new comprehensive law," said Reheis-Boyd. "These regulations are extensive but strike the right balance that will result in an environmental platform which will ensure that the potential energy resources contained in the Monterey Shale formation can be responsibly developed."

Reheis-Boyd claimed that the state only produces 38% of the crude oil it needs to refine into transportation fuels that keep the state moving.

"There are no pipelines that bring crude oil to California – we either produce it here and provide jobs, improve the economy and become more energy secure or it comes by tanker from foreign sources. SB 4 provides for responsible development of a much needed resource for California," she stated.

"The Western States Petroleum Association and our members look forward to engaging with the state and other stakeholders on how best to implement these new requirements in the coming months and years," Reheis-Boyd concluded.

The "marine protected areas" in Southern California created under Reheis-Boyd's "leadership" went into effect on January 1, 2012. These "marine protected areas" fail to protect the ocean from fracking, oil drilling, pollution, wind and wave energy projects, military testing and all human impacts other than fishing and gathering - thereby clearing the way for expanded fracking and offshore oil drilling.

Just 1-1/2 years after these "no fishing" zones were implemented, it was revealed by Freedom of Information documents, and the Associated Press that Southern California marine waters, including the same waters that were supposedly "protected" by the privately-funded MLPA Initiative, have been "fracked" at least 203 times in the past two decades. (

In contrast with Reheis-Boyd's praise of the draft regulations, environmental groups said Governor Brown's fracking regulations fail to protect California’s air and water, falling even short of Senate Bill 4 minimal requirements.

In a statement, the Center for Biological Diversity said the regulations fall "far short of protecting California’s air, water, communities and climate from fracking, a dangerously polluting practice that involves blasting chemical-laden water into the earth to fracture rock formations."

“Gov. Brown’s fracking regulations would leave California’s environment and public health horribly exposed to fracking pollution,” said Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity. “These rules mostly take the narrowest, most oil industry-friendly approach to fracking that’s possible under state law. They will permit fracking to spread across the state, endangering our air, water, communities and climate. The only safe way forward for California is a halt to this inherently dangerous process.”

She said the draft regulations "go no further to protect Californians than the bare minimum requirements in S.B. 4" — and in some instances fall short even of those minimal mandates.

For example, Senate Bill 4 requires notice of fracking to all tenants living within a 1,500-foot radius of the wellhead of any fracked well, or within 500 feet of the horizontal projection of the subsurface portion of the well bore.

Siegel pointed out that draft regulations attempt to restrict notification to people with a written lease by defining “tenant” as “a person or entity possessing the right to occupy a legally recognized parcel, or portion thereof, by way of a valid written agreement.” (See 1783.2(b).)

“Under California law, you don’t need a written agreement to receive legal protections as a tenant,” Siegel said. “It’s outrageous for the governor’s oil and gas officials to attempt to restrict the right to be warned that fracking may endanger your drinking water to people with a written lease.”

"Among other failings, today’s regulations do not address the large increase in deadly air pollutants like particulate matter, ozone and air toxics that will accompany a fracking boom. The Central Valley and the Los Angeles Basin, where industry is poised for a massive expansion of drilling, already suffer from the worst air quality in the nation," she said.

According to a recent Center report, oil companies engaged in fracking and other "extreme oil production methods" used 12 dangerous “air toxic” chemicals more than 300 times in the Los Angeles Basin over the summer, The regulations will do nothing to reduce such air toxics.

In a letter sent on November 13, twenty of the country’s leading climate scientists called on Governor Jerry Brown to impose a moratorium on fracking in California. They said fracking and other extreme oil and gas extraction techniques disrupt the climate and harm California’s efforts to be a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. (

"Shale gas and tight oil development is likely to worsen climate disruption, which would harm California's efforts to be a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions," the letter stated.

Siegel concluded, “Gov. Brown knows that in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we need to leave a substantial portion of the world’s fossil fuel reserves in the ground. The only sufficient regulation would be a prohibition on fracking and other extreme fossil-fuel extraction techniques.”

Governor Brown signed Senator Fran Pavely's Senate Bill 4, dubbed the "green light to fracking" bill by conservation, consumer and environmental groups, on September 20. Over 100 organizations, including the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN), Food and Water Watch, Credo and the Center for Biological Diversity, opposed the legislation. The already weak legislation was eviscerated at the last minute with oil industry-friendly amendments under pressure by the Western States Petroleum Association and oil companies.

Brown's signing of the bill occurs as the Governor continues and expands the worst environmental policies of the Schwarzenegger administration. Brown is rushing the Bay Delta Conservation Plan BDCP to build the peripheral tunnels, has presided over record fish kills and water exports at the Delta pumps and completed the creation of a statewide network of so-called "marine protected areas" under Schwarzenegger's widely-contested Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative in December 2012.

Brown is also a big supporter of REDD+ carbon trading credits. At a protest in San Francisco on October 17, Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, urged Brown to reject REDD+ carbon trading credits that allow corporations to grab huge swaths of land in developing countries in order to keep polluting at home, endangering indigenous communities and the environment across the globe.

“Governor Brown is moving ahead with a policy that grabs land, clear-cuts forests, destroys biodiversity, abuses Mother Earth, pimps Father Sky and threatens the cultural survival of Indigenous Peoples,” said Goldtooth. (
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  •  Energy in Depth (0+ / 0-)

    Here is an article which logically debunks the Center for Biological Diversity

    Twenty ‘Climate Scientists’ Deny Science On Hydraulic Fracturing

    10:10am EST November 15, 2013
     by Dave Quast,     Los Angeles, Calif.

    This week, several news outlets reported that twenty of the nation’s “top climate scientists” sent a letter to Governor Jerry Brown telling him that hydraulic fracturing in California would be detrimental to the state’s commitment to combating climate change. (We’re supposed to ignore that they have never before raised a fuss in the 50 years hydraulic fracturing has been occurring here, apparently.)

    In the letter, which was generated by the Center for Biological Diversity (classic press release fodder!), these “top climate scientists” engage in outright denial of well-established science.

    Before getting into the claims, let’s first consider the sources. Here are some of the “top” scientists who signed the letter:

    Paul Ehrlich, whose predictive powers originated in the 1960s when he said the world was going to overpopulate and we were all going to die of starvation by 1980. We didn’t, by the way.
    Anthony Ingraffea and Robert Howarth, whose claims about methane emissions from shale development have received (to put it politely) wide criticism from the actual scientific community. Even President Obama’s former Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu (a Nobel Prize-winning physicist), said of Ingraffea’s and Howarth’s work: “we didn’t think it was credible.”
    James Hansen, an activist who regularly gets himself arrested at environmentalist rallies. Hansen is also retiring from his position as a scientist, presumably so he can explore more creative ways to waste police resources. (The New York Times explains Hansen’s move as “giving himself more freedom to pursue political and legal efforts to limit greenhouse gases,” which has clearly already begun.) In reviewing a book that advocated population control and claimed the need to “rid the world of Industrial Civilization,” Hansen said the author “has it right.”
    Ken Caldeira, who has written such gems like “As the natural gas plant spews CO2 into the atmosphere, we are supposed to be grateful that they didn’t shoot the dog.” To be fair, Caldeira’s bigger point was that we need to build more renewables instead of natural gas plants – even though the renewables industry itself says we should be building more natural gas plants.
    Shaye Wolf, who is the climate science director of … the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD). The Center’s own commitment to science is dubious, given that its executive director famously proclaimed: “the core talent of a successful environmental activist is not science and law,” but rather “campaigning instinct.” He added that CBD is “more interested in hiring philosophers, linguists and poets.”
    You might be asking, “Okay, so they’ve said and done some unsavory and pretty silly things. But are their accusations in this instance valid?” The answer is no. Let’s have a look:

    CBD Letter: “Shale gas and tight oil development is likely to worsen climate disruption, which could harm California’s efforts to be a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions… Research suggests that large quantities of methane are leaked during shale gas and tight oil development processes.”

    FACT: No it isn’t. This claim comes primarily from two of the authors of the letter, Robert Howarth and Anthony Ingraffea. Neither is a climate scientist, but real climate scientists did feel the need to respond to their accusations.

    Raymond Pierrehumbert University of Chicago said that Ingraffea’s work is “a matter of distorting the science in order to support a preconceived political agenda.” Richard Muller of the University of California at Berkeley also weighed in, saying you can use Ingraffea’s methods “if you want to make methane leakage sound scarier than it really is.” When asked for his response to Ingraffea’s claims, Michael Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations asked rhetorically, “Is there value in debating people who don’t want to think?”

    Meanwhile, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has said that it is an “incorrect statement” to suggest that natural gas is a net negative in terms of shifting to a lower carbon economy. The Obama administration has touted natural gas development as a source of clean power, with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy saying: “Responsible development of natural gas is an important part of our work to curb climate change.”

    EPA’s most recent data on greenhouse gas emissions shows that methane emissions are well below the threshold for natural gas to maintain its greenhouse gas benefits. In fact, U.S. natural gas production has grown an amazing 40 percent since 1990, but methane emissions have fallen by about 11 percent. Experts at the Department of Energy, MIT, the University of Maryland, and the Breakthrough Institute have all debunked the alarmist leakage rates envisioned by Howarth and Ingraffea. Even a study underwritten by the Sierra Club found their research to be “biased” and “wrong.”

    The proof is all around us, too. The United States is leading the world in carbon dioxide emission reductions, primarily thanks to the increased utilization of natural gas, which would never be possible without hydraulic fracturing.  According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) emissions from the United States dropped by 3.8 percent and, as the organization put it, “One of the key reasons has been the increased availability of natural gas, linked to the shale gas revolution.”

    Finally, lest you think this is just about natural gas, and not oil (California’s Monterey Shale is potentially the largest shale oil reserve in the United States), President Obama made this statement in his remarks yesterday:

    “[W]e invested in new American technologies to reverse our addiction to foreign oil, double wind power, double solar power, produce more oil, produce more natural gas, and do it all in a way that is actually bringing down some of our pollution, making our entire economy more energy-efficient.”

    The “methane leak” talking point is just that: a talking point. It’s also not a particularly good one, since it’s verifiably false.

    CBD Letter: “Studies suggest that shale tight oil and gas development can also increase levels of ground-level ozone due to emissions of ozone precursor emissions such as volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides, a key risk factor for asthma and other respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses. Other air pollution emissions from shale development, including diesel particulate matter, benzene, and aliphatic hydrocarbons may contribute to health problems among populations living near oil and gas development sites.”

    FACT: No it doesn’t. Once again, the facts are freely available to the CBD, but it doesn’t seem interested in them.

    Reports by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Pennsylvania and West Virginia Departments of Environmental Protection have all found no credible health risks associated with shale development. In fact, many studies have concluded that shale gas development is rapidly clearing the air of pollutants, which is a boon to public health. In Texas, regulators found that as Barnett Shale production grew exponentially over the last decade, ozone levels actually declined in the region.

    The American Lung Association recently gave several counties in the heart of the Bakken Shale oil boom an “A” grade for low air pollution. ALA added that its methodology may not have captured all of the impacts of local shale development, but if the threat was even close to what activists have claimed, there’s simply no way those counties would have received a passing grade, much less a stellar one.

    Most recently, a draft report published by UK’s Department of Health found that the public health risks from shale development are low. You can read more about how anti-fracking activists routinely deny science on public health by clicking here.

    CBD Letter: “In addition to its climate change and pollution impacts, shale development poses other threats to California. Shale tight oil and gas development requires large quantities of water.”

    FACT: Hydraulic fracturing in California uses a fraction of the water required elsewhere in the country. An average hydraulic fracturing job in California in 2012 used 116,000 gallons of water. The CBD likes to pretend that is a lot, but many industries account for a far larger share of total water use. A report prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy concluded that hydraulic fracturing accounts for less than one percent of water usage in areas where it occurs – and this includes other shale plays where millions of gallons per fracturing job are often used.

    Water issues are always important in California, but the fact is that, owing to our unique geology, we just don’t fracture that many wells. For some perspective, a little more than 500 wells were fractured in California last year, out of more than 2,500 total wells drilled. At 116,000 gallons of water per well, that means that all of the hydraulic fracturing that took place in our state last year used as much water as the state’s golf courses used in 12 hours (golf courses average about 320,000 gallons per day).

    More importantly, as the AP recently reported, water recycling has become a central focus of the oil and gas industry. According to the AP: “Recycling is rapidly becoming a popular and economic solution for a burgeoning industry,” which means even less water use.

    Consider what’s happening just in Pennsylvania alone: According to data from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, between 2008 and 2011, 61.3 percent of wastewater was recycled or reused. By 2012, that number rose to 86.1 percent and, in just the first half of 2013, 90 percent of flowback water was reused or recycled.

    CBD Letter: “Finally, the process is very poorly regulated and exempt from many of our strongest federal environmental laws including the Safe Drinking Water Act and important provisions of the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.”

    FACT: As we’ve clearly explained before, the cries of “exemption” for hydraulic fracturing are way off base. First of all, saying the process is “exempt” from the Safe Drinking Water Act is to suggest that SDWA was designed to cover hydraulic fracturing. It wasn’t, and it has never covered the process.

    Don’t believe us? In 1995, then EPA administrator Carol Browner said this:

    “EPA does not regulate – and does not believe it is legally required to regulate – the hydraulic fracturing of methane gas production wells under its UIC program.”

    (The “UIC program” is the Underground Injection Control program, the part of SDWA that critics have alleged should apply to hydraulic fracturing.)

    The EPA also added:

    “EPA’s position is that the fracturing of methane gas production wells is not an injection operation subject to regulation under the Underground Injection Control (UIC) program.”

    Here’s a question for the CBD: How can you be exempt from something that never covered you in the first place?

    As for the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act, the U.S. Government Accountability Office has affirmed that these laws apply to shale development. Are there aspects that state regulators enforce instead of the EPA? Yes. Are there areas of development where state regulation, not federal control, is what’s enforced? Yes. Is it deceptive to claim shale and hydraulic fracturing are “exempt” from federal laws? Yes.

    The CBD is good at generating press releases. One may even admire its single-minded devotion to ideology, even when facts and science scream out in contradiction of what they’re claiming. Unfortunately, scaring policymakers and citizens by pretending to have fidelity to science is actually only killing jobs, hamstringing economic growth, and preventing the very environmental protection that the CBD claims to support. But hey at least they scored some headlines, right?

  •  You mentioned hydraulic fracturing operations as (0+ / 0-)
    "....controversial oil drilling practice."
    Hydraulic fracturing is a hydrocarbon 'well completion" practice.   Hydraulic fracturing does not have anything at all to do with hydrocarbon bore hole drilling.
    •  But (0+ / 0-)

      As you know, the current shale boom would be impossible without fracking which is, as you say, a completion process. While fracking may have nothing to do with "hydrocarbon bore hole drilling," it has everything to do with drilling in shale formations which is what the current boom is all about.

      •  It is not physically possible to conduct hydraulic (0+ / 0-)

        fracturing operations until after all drilling operations to create bore holes have been completed and are terminated on any given hydrocarbon recovery well, including those for shale gas.  

        While hydraulic fracturing operations are being conducted is is physically impossible to conduct any drilling operations of any nature at all.

        As a result, under no circumstances can a shale gas drilling operation be termed to be 'hydraulic fracturing' or be called 'hydraulic fracturing'.....and hydraulic fracturing can never be considered as a 'drilling operation.'

        •  My comment is applies (0+ / 0-)

          Without fracking there would be no shale boom.

          We can say fracking-enabled driling, and I do sometimes. But the Daily Kos readers, as you pointed out earlier, are quite intelligent and well read. They know the difference between drilling and fracking (I've been writing about it here for a long time) and they know that the current shale boom and all it's associated horrors are brought to us by fracking.

        •  LakeSuperior (0+ / 0-)

          I've changed the term in my postfrom "oil drilling practice" to "oil extraction process."  

          •  all hydraulic fracturing would be completed before (0+ / 0-)

            any physical process of oil extraction can even commence, so calling 'hydraulic fracturing' an "oil extraction process" wouldn't be correct from the standpoint of process engineering.   The correct terminology for categorizing what "hydraulic fracturing" a 'well completion' process.   That is universally used terminology by EPA, DOE and others [not including Gasland].

            •  Fracking is fracking (0+ / 0-)

              "Well completion" process doesn't do a very good job of explaining what fracking does. It may be technically correct, but technical words are often employed by government hacks and bureaucrats to obscure what processes actually do. It is like the term "salvage" that is used by state and federal bureaucrats to describe the killing of millions of fish every year in the Delta pumps. I use that word also, but I always put it in quotation marks. Or like the term "marine protected areas" that the Department of Fish and Wildlife uses to describe the areas on the coast that are closed to fishing and tribal gathering, but remain open to fracking, oil drilling, military testing another environmentally destructive activities.

              I'll stick with Food and Water Watch's definition of fracking, available on their website. However, I just changed the paragraph and just inserted the word fracking instead. I've explained what fracking is in other articles.

              •  First, I'm curious about your fish damage report.. (0+ / 0-)

                ...are you talking about a water transfer system from one of the northern CA rivers, like the Sacramento river delta?...Do they have any mitigation of fisheries damages at all at the intakes to the pumping stations, or are the intakes merely submerged pipes or tunnels into the water body being pumped?....and is specific information on both qualitative and quantitative fisheries damages available?  [note this issue has similarities to power plant and industrial cooling water intake issues].

                Second, if you are addressing the matter of oil and gas industry operations and knowledge about geology, hydrology, hydrocarbon process engineering, air pollution control engineering and geological are not going to be effective as a conservation leadership and science advocate by attempting to re-invent the terms and language of such matters.    Making up terms that are non-science terms to describe physical process science and engineering matters is the kind of conduct that right wing nutcases and the Creation Museum would carry out.   Such conduct is rightfully considered as scientific misconduct and advocacy featuring scientific misconduct can't be considers valid public trust and science-based advocacy and public communications.

                This is the principle reason why I've been so critical of is totally ineffective from an environmental enforcement standpoint because what is presented in Gasland cannot be considered valid scientific and engineering analysis of the oil and gas industry.

                •  Scientific misconduct? (0+ / 0-)

                  "Such conduct is rightfully considered as scientific misconduct and advocacy featuring scientific misconduct can't be considers valid public trust and science-based advocacy and public communications."

                  Actually, "scientific misconduct" accurately describes what is conducted by the agencies, corporate "environmental" groups, and corporations that use allegedly "technical" and "scientific" language to obscure the environmental crimes they are routinely engaged in. "Scientific misconduct" describes the "science" used to justify the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels and the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative to create alleged "marine protected areas" in California.

                  Just so you know, I've been the one journalist in California that has routinely exposed the fish kills caused by massive water exports to southern California from the Delta pumps. My work has actually spurred independent scientists to do more reviews and studies of this.  

                •  Real scientific misconduct (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  If there ever was a case of scientific misconduct in California, here it is. And this guy used all of the technically correct terms while engaging in this conduct:

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