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Senate Bill 4 Will Not Protect Californians From Fracking's Dangers


By: Center for Biological Diversity

SACRAMENTO, Sept. 11, 2013 — Following today's approval of Senate Bill 4 by the California State Assembly, the Center for Biological Diversity vowed to continue working to halt fracking and other dangerous unconventional oil-extraction methods.

"This bill will not protect Californians from the enormous threats of fracking pollution," said Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute. "Fracking poses unacceptable risks to the air we breathe, the water we drink and our climate. We'll keep working to end this inherently dangerous activity in our state."

Last-minute amendments added to S.B. 4 last week after oil-industry lobbying could block meaningful review of fracking under the California Environmental Quality Act. The changes also mean that state regulators would be required by law to allow fracking to continue until 2015 if certain conditions are met.

Fracking routinely employs numerous toxic chemicals, including methanol, benzene and trimenthylbenzene. As fracking and other forms of unconventional oil extraction have expanded in California, a recent Center report found that oil companies have used 12 dangerous "air toxic" chemicals more than 300 times in the Los Angeles Basin in recent months. Air toxics are chemicals considered among the most dangerous air pollutants because they can cause illness and death.

Fracking has been tied to water and air pollution in other states, and the process can release huge quantities of methane, a dangerously potent greenhouse gas. Increased fracking threatens to unlock vast reserves of previously inaccessible fossil fuel deposits that would contribute to global warming and bring us closer to climate disaster.

A recent study from the Colorado School of Public Health found that fracking contributes to serious neurological and respiratory problems in people living near fracked wells, while also putting them at higher risk of cancer.

Two recent studies in the journal Science found that injection wells, commonly used to dispose of contaminated fracking wastewater, can raise the risk of dangerous earthquakes.



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