Center for Biological Diversity

Media Advisory, February 8, 2017

Contact:  Patrick Sullivan, (415) 517-9364,
Ash Lauth, (847) 340-4570 (on-the-ground cell)

Monterey County Residents to Challenge Plan to Turn Aquifer Into Oil Waste Dump

KING CITY, Calif.— Monterey County residents and members of the Center for Biological Diversity will attend a public hearing Thursday in King City to oppose a state plan to turn local underground water over to the oil industry for injection of contaminated waste fluid.

Thursday's hearing will be held by California's Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, which hopes to exempt an aquifer that runs under the town of San Ardo from the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

“This outrageous plan could contaminate Monterey County's water with oil-waste fluid,” said Ash Lauth of the Center. “Oil-waste injections in San Ardo have already been linked to earthquakes and other problems. State regulators are ignoring the people's will and endangering their water by trying to exempt this aquifer from key environmental rules.”

What: State hearing on proposal to exempt water around San Ardo oilfield from Safe Drinking Water Act

Where: King City Fairgrounds, Pavilion Room, 625 Division Street, King City

When: Thursday, Feb. 9, 4-7 p.m.

Who: Monterey County residents and members of the Center for Biological Diversity will oppose the state plan to exempt this underground water from federal protection.

In November Monterey County voters passed Measure Z, a ballot initiative that bans land use associated with fracking and drilling new oil wells and phases out existing wastewater disposal wells. The measure won with more than 56 percent of the vote.

“It's absurd that state regulators and the oil industry are trying to push pause on this democratically passed measure so they can inject toxic oil waste into the San Ardo aquifer,” said Ella Teevan of Food & Water Watch. “We urge DOGGR to follow the will of Monterey County residents and deny the exemption.”

Oil industry activities in San Ardo have been linked to induced earthquakes by scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey. State oil regulators have allowed massive oil industry injections in this oilfield “despite repeated technical failures, evidence of fluid migration out of the intended geologic zone, and other clear contamination risks,” according to a damning analysis of state data released last year by the Environmental Action Center.

Crude from the San Ardo oilfield is more climate damaging than any other large source of oil produced in, or imported into, California, according to a recent Center analysis of state data. The Center's report, titled Stealing California's Future, found that San Ardo crude is even more carbon-intensive than notoriously dirty oil from the Alberta tar sands in Canada.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.2 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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