On Thursday, May 7, 2015, two environmental groups filed a lawsuit seeking an immediate halt to oil and gas wastewater injection at 2,500 wells across California.
The suit, filed by the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity, claims that the state Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”) should be prohibited from letting companies pump produced water from their drilling operations into non-exempt aquifers.
DOGGR has repeatedly assured Californians that there has been “no contamination of water used for drinking or agricultural purposes related to underground injection by the oil and gas industry” and “no evidence has been found that underground injection has damaged sources of potential drinking water.”
Under DOGGR’s recently issued emergency proposed rulemaking, industry wastewater injections into non-exempt aquifers must be phased out by 2017. However, the lawsuit calls for the injections to stop immediately. The proposed phasing-out period gives both DOGGR and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) the opportunity to determine whether some of the aquifers — particularly those that also contain oil — should be considered suitable places to inject produced water. The EPA has the authority to declare an aquifer exempt from the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, making it eligible for wastewater injections.
Continue Reading Lawsuit Seeks to Halt Oil Industry Wastewater Disposal Practices