The F Word in SoCal

Posted by Christine, March 26, 2012

SoCal Connected reports on fracking in California.

“California is the fourth largest producer of oil and gas in the nation, and companies are turning to controversial techniques like fracking. The industry would like to keep facts about the process buried, but it’s got residents scared. In a “SoCal Connected” special report, correspondent Jennifer London unearths whether fracking is going on in Southern California and why it’s become such a dirty word.”

I was disappointed in the comments of Tim Kustic, the new supervisor of the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources – better known as DOGGR. His predecessor got fired after pressing for more regultion:

Reporter Jennifer London: Answers regarding regulations and transparency are hard to come by even here in Sacramento, where DOGGR is based. In fact, when the agency’s supervisor, Elena Miller, pushed for tougher permit requirements, she was let go, and so was her boss.

London: In a letter to the L.A. Times, Governor Jerry Brown writes the firings at the department were because DOGGR was “steadfastly blocking oil production permits,” citing the state’s need for “a healthy and vibrant oil and gas industry.”

London: The shakeup at DOGGR raised a lot of questions and left some, including State Senator Fran Pavley, wondering whose side the agency is on.

London: Tim Kustic took over for ousted supervisor Miller in November 2011. Although he says he supports more transparency, he stops short of leading the charge for additional regulations.

Kustic: The nature of fracking is to some extent self-regulatory. The division is aware fracking has been going on for decades in the state. We are not aware of any associated damage from fracking jobs, especially to the fresh water aquifers in the state.

The transcript and the entire episode are posted online.