Environmental Groups Sue California Over Fracking Policies

On Tuesday, several environmental groups, including Earthjustice and the Sierra Club, filed a lawsuit against the State of California aimed at requiring more stringent oversight of hydraulic fracturing practices. The lawsuit, filed in Alameda County Superior Court, alleges that California’s Department of Conservation is approving oil and gas drilling permits without requiring preliminary environmental reviews or adequately monitoring possible consequences. The environmental groups are seeking a court order declaring that fracking violates current state law and prohibiting any new permits from being issued without a full analysis of the risks being performed. California currently does not distinguish between fracking and traditional techniques used to extract oil and gas. “The lawsuit is about [making] the state follow existing environmental law and just getting basic information to the public about what projects are being proposed, what potential impacts there are and making sure those impact are mitigated,” said an Earthjustice attorney. The Department of Conservation has not yet released a statement regarding the lawsuit. However, the Department (and specifically the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources) is expected to release proposed regulations dealing with fracking in the next few weeks.

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