California’s efforts to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions have earned it a reputation as a climate leader. Most of the state’s actions, however, have focused on the “demand-side” of carbon emissions: reducing energy consumption, increasing efficiency, using cleaner fuels and energy sources, and reducing vehicle miles traveled. However, as the country’s 5th largest oil producer (recently falling from 3rd), the state has never done enough to keep polluting fossil fuels from being produced in the first place.
While CCUS may eventually prove to be a viable strategy for addressing climate change, using captured carbon to increase the production of oil and gas undermines the climate mitigation goals of carbon capture and storage. At the same time, CO2-EOR presents risks to groundwater, the environment, and the health of communities living near oil fields. As a known threat to drinking water sources, enhanced oil recovery is regulated by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Underground Injection Control (UIC) program.
New Report on Enhanced Oil Recovery’s Threats to Drinking Water: Clean Water Action Teams Up With Johns Hopkins SAIS
Since September 2016, as part of the Johns Hopkins SAIS International Environmental and Energy Practicum, I have been researching in partnership with Clean Water Action in order to inform the public about a little-known method of oil and gas production: Enhanced Oil Recovery. The culmination of our team’s research is the new report, “The Environmental Risks and Oversight of Enhanced Oil Recovery in the United States.”