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Friday, January 18 , 2019, 12:55 am | Fair 51º


Letter to the Editor: New Evidence of Fracking’s Poisons

The Los Angeles Times, in a front-page story on Feb. 11, has widely circulated news that any knowledgeable person has long been aware of: Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) practices in California are spewing lethal substances into our clean water aquifers and have been doing it for years.

The Environmental Protection Agency's regional director described as “shocking” the failure of California's Department of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources to monitor and reveal the massive contamination by the carcinogen benzene in the “flowback fluid” of fracking wells levels “thousands of times greater than state and federal agencies consider safe” — which for decades oil companies have illegally been storing in wells drilled through aquifers containing water used by communities for drinking and agriculture.

This “news” was only made possible because of the passage in 2013 of SB4, co-sponsored by Rep. Das Williams, that required for the first time testing and monitoring of the output fluids used by fracking wells in the state.

And, of course, since much of the data is “self-reported” by oil companies, it “probably [does] not account for the full extent of benzene present in fracking flowback. Many operators failed to comply with reporting requirements.” (What a surprise!)

Gov. Jerry Brown, who fired California Department of Conservation Director Derek Chernow and Deputy Elena Miller for refusing to issue oil drilling permits absent the thorough review required by environmental law (Los Angeles Times, Jan. 29, 2012), and whose favorite ballot propositions have received millions of dollars in contributions from oil companies, is directly responsible for this environmental filth.

And anyone who has supported the proliferation of this toxic practice in our community shares responsibility for any sickness or death that may occur as a result of its use.

William Smithers
Santa Barbara

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