California has forced the emergency shut-down of 11 oil and gas waste injection sites and a review of more than 100 others due to concerns that these companies may be poisoning aquifers. Cease and desist orders were issued on July 7th to oil and gas companies in drought wracked Central Valley.
California has been criticized for its oversight of its underground water resources. Many aquifers have already been contaminated by drilling operations in the state.
Some of these aquifers are protected but others are not. According to the government of California at least seven injection wells are likely pumping waste into fresh water aquifers protected by the law.
Many drinking water aquifers are exempt from any sort of pollution protection in California and these are the ones at issue. While it was thought that these wells would never be needed, under current drought conditions in California they may soon become important sources of water.
Damon Nagami, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council said, “Our drinking water sources must be protected and preserved for the precious resources they are, not sacrificed as a garbage dump for the oil and gas industry.”
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