Participate in the CalGEM rulemaking process
CFROG believes that public health should always come before oil industry profits. We encourage residents, especially those who live near oil extraction, to express their concerns in the current Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) rulemaking process.
To fulfill its recently strengthened mission to protect public health, safety, and the environment, CalGEM is undertaking a process to update public health and safety protections for communities near oil and gas production operations.
The rulemaking process will involve extensive public input and consider the best available science and data to inform new and strengthened protective requirements.
We urgently recommend you send in your written comments to:
or by postal mail to:
Department of Conservation
801 K Street, MS 24-02
Sacramento, CA 95814
ATTN: Public Health near Oil Gas Rulemaking
For more information, go to:
CFROG talking points
Buffer of at least 2,500 feet
CFROG agrees with the buffer mandated in AB 345 (Muratsuchi) stipulating that oil and gas activities be located at a minimum of 2,500 feet away from sensitive receptors such as schools, childcare facilities, playgrounds, residences, hospitals, and health clinics. Oil development in some areas of the state, notably Los Angeles, is in densely populated areas, some only 60 feet from residences.
Studies link proximity to oil and gas wells to increased risk of asthma and other respiratory illnesses, preterm births and high-risk pregnancies, and cancer. Other risks include water contamination, noise pollution, spills of toxic chemicals, and explosions.
California does not currently restrict how close oil and gas extraction can be to sensitive receptors. It is time to change this.
Phase out steam extraction techniques
The risky drilling technique of steam extraction, which can damage oil infrastructure, should be phased out. Steam is used to dilute California's heavier hydrocarbons so they will flow and, in instances where an oil field is nearly played out, eke the last bit out of the ground. It is often used in shallow formations which tend to be nearer to water sources.
In Ventura County, CFROG asked the Board of Supervisors to put a moratorium on all new cyclic steam oil drilling in an area near Oxnard where petroleum-related gases were discovered in the Fox Canyon Aquifer. Scientists working in the Orcutt field near Santa Barbara found evidence of oil-field fluids in water wells near other cyclic steam and acidizing operations, as a result of the new testing required by SB 4 (Pavley). Our governor has put a moratorium on all new high-pressure steam injection statewide. Steaming at lower pressures is still allowed. We believe this should also end.
No new drilling near protected water
Drilling near protected groundwater should be prohibited. The new testing now required by the state has found instances where drinking and agricultural sources have been compromised, and is certain to find more.
Old wells with degraded casings also leak. A new report by the California Council on Science and Technology shows that more than 5,500 wells have been abandoned without proper cleanup and plugging and another 70,000 are at risk.
Prohibit flaring and venting except for safety and testing purposes
Natural gas is a byproduct of oil extraction. When collecting it for resale is not deemed profitable, operators burn it.
The U.S. Governmental Accountability Office (GAO) found that flaring emits carbon dioxide — a greenhouse gas linked to climate change — and other air pollutants like benzene that can increase ground-level ozone levels.
Air quality monitoring near oil and gas production should always be a priority.
New drilling that will add tanker traffic to the road should be prohibited
The GAO has also determined that large trucks and rail cars transporting hazardous materials, including crude oil and natural gas liquids, resulted in far more fatalities and incidents than pipelines.
From 2007 to 2011, fatalities averaged about 14 per year for all pipeline incidents reported to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, including an average of about 2 fatalities per year resulting from incidents on hazardous liquid and natural gas transmission pipelines. In comparison, in 2010, 3,675 fatalities resulted from incidents involving large trucks.
Increased truck traffic resulting from oil and gas production can also add more pollutants to our air and present hazardous driving conditions, particularly on roads not designed to handle heavy truck traffic.