Sunday, February 8, 2015

 By ELLEN KNICKMEYER February 5, 2015 6:23 PM

Regulators in California, the country's third-largest oil-producing state, have authorized oil companies to inject production fluids and waste into what are now federally protected aquifers more than 2,500 times, risking contamination of underground water supplies that could be used for drinking water or irrigation, state records show.

While the permits go back decades, an Associated Press analysis found that nearly half of those injection wells — 46 percent — were approved or began injections in the last four years under Gov. Jerry Brown, who has pushed state oil and gas regulators to speed up the permitting process. That happened despite growing warnings from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency since 2011 that state regulators were out of compliance with federal laws meant to protect underground drinking-water stores from oilfield contamination.

In California, "we need a big course correction. We need to get the system back in compliance," said Jared Blumenfeld, regional administrator for the EPA. "Californians expect their water is not being polluted by oil producers ... This poses that very real danger.";_ylt=A86.J7_.yddU2FoAFioPxQt.

Monday, February 2, 2015

If you, like 3.5 million Californians, voted “yes” on the $7.5 billion water bond last year, you should start paying attention to how Gov. Jerry Brown is planning to spend the bond money.

It may not be on building new dams to store water for future dry years like he assured voters, farmers and legislators before the election. 

The governor recently divulged how he wants to spend the first $532 million: restoring streams, rivers and watersheds, water recycling projects, upgrading drinking water treatment plants, rebates for people buying water-efficient appliances and, finally, groundwater management and cleanup.

Something seems to be missing from this list. [Note: Yes, something is missing, who is getting all the money.] FYI: Read more

'If there are wells having a direct impact on drinking water, we need to shut them down now'. California state regulators allowed oil companies to dispose of wastewater in clean groundwater supplies for years, according to a new report.

The San Francisco Chronicle, citing a review of state data, reports that oil companies built more than 170 waste-disposal wells feeding into bodies of groundwater that could otherwise have been used for drinking or irrigation during one of the area’s worst droughts in centuries. The wells are primarily located in the state’s agricultural Central Valley region, which was particularly devastated by the drought.

“If there are wells having a direct impact on drinking water, we need to shut them down now,” said Jared Bluemnfeld, regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency. “Safe drinking water is only going to become more in demand.”

The Brown administration allowed oil companies to inject toxic wastewater into underground drinking water aquifers in the Central Valley, the Chron$ reports. The situation is being made worse by the fact that Central Valley residents and farmers are increasingly pumping water out of the ground for drinking and agricultural uses because of the drought. The wastewater injections have been going on for years.