SACRAMENTO, March 15 (UPI) -- Energy firms across California are fracking, putting hazardous chemicals into the earth to extract oil, while thwarting regulation efforts, health groups say.
In 2011, the energy industry thwarted legislation that would have put California in line with a mounting number of states that mandate companies to divulge what they inject into the ground that may end up in our drinking water, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.
A company in the forefront of the opposition was Halliburton, rationalizing full disclosure of the chemicals used in its fracking fluid would compromise valuable trade secrets.
Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, while trying to work with the energy industry, has not created any guidelines on fracking in California, the fourth-largest oil producing state in the United States.
The energy industry alleges California has deep potential for fracking, containing 64 percent of deep-rock oil deposits in the United States. They also say the method of extracting it is "radically different" than the way operators inject millions of gallons of chemical-laced water and sand to break apart rock and release natural gas in the Rocky Mountain West, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
"We believe it is a safe practice," said Tupper Hull, a spokesman for the Western States Petroleum Association. "It is not a new technology. It is a tested, proven technology."
Others say they aren't convinced, the Times said.
California is marking time while operations continue.
Fracking has apparently gone on for years, the Times said, but with residents from Culver City to Monterey becoming more aware of the potential hazards of fracking they are going from quiet to roaring like a California grizzly bear demanding action from … somewhere, the Times said.
"The communities have been left on their own to figure this out," said Lark Galloway-Gilliam, executive director of Community Health Councils, a health advocacy group that sued a Texas oil company and Los Angeles County over oil extraction near Baldwin Hills.
"We are looking to our regulatory agencies to protect us, and they are scratching their heads and turning a blind eye."
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