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.”
What's behind the recent headlines on California groundwater? Does a new study suggest the problem is solved, and that we can all go home? Er...no!
On March 23, we sent a legal petition to EPA requesting the Agency revoke or amend its rules governing Aquifer Exemptions.
Highlights from some of Clean Water's favorite insights and developments this year in the world of oil and gas, drinking water protection and climate change.
Resistance to erasing a drinking water source from potential use is happening in many communities like San Luis Obispo.
In January, Clean Water Action exposed a little known secret in the Safe Drinking Water Act that lets oil and gas companies dispose of their wastewater and conduct oil and gas extraction activities directly in potential sources of drinking water. The secret is called an “aquifer exemption”.
Over the last month, the power and influence of the oil industry in the California Legislature has been clear.