by Nadia Prupis
As California Governor Jerry Brown this week instituted the state’s first-ever mandatory restrictions on water usage to combat its historic four-year drought, environmental activists are pointing out two glaring exemptions from the order: the fossil fuel and agriculture industries.
Brown’s mandate, announced Wednesday, directs cities and communities to cut down their water consumption by 25 percent, but does not make any requirements of the state’s numerous oil companies, including those which practice the water-heavy fracking method of extraction, nor of large-scale farming operations.
Californians Outraged As Oil Producers & Frackers Excluded From Emergency Water Restrictions
California’s oil and gas industry is estimated (with official data due to be released in coming days) to use more than 2 million gallons of fresh water per day; so it is hardly surprising that, as Reuters reports, Californians are outraged after discovering that these firms are excluded from Governor Jerry Brown’s mandatory water restrictions, “forcing ordinary Californians to shoulder the burden of the drought.”
California should require oil producers to cut their water usage as part of the administration’s efforts to conserve water in the drought-ravaged state, environmentalists said on Wednesday.
Governor Jerry Brown ordered the first statewide mandatory water restrictions on Wednesday, directing cities and communities to cut their consumption by 25 percent. But the order does not require oil producers to cut their usage nor does it place a temporary halt on the water intensive practice of hydraulic fracturing.
California’s oil and gas industry uses more than 2 million gallons of fresh water a day to produce oil through well stimulation practices including fracking, acidizing and steam injection, according to estimates by environmentalists. The state is expected to release official numbers on the industry’s water consumption in the coming days.
“Governor Brown is forcing ordinary Californians to shoulder the burden of the drought by cutting their personal water use while giving the oil industry a continuing license to break the law and poison our water,” said Zack Malitz of environmental group Credo.
“Fracking and toxic injection wells may not be the largest uses of water in California, but they are undoubtedly some of the stupidest,” he said.
The industry has received scrutiny for how it disposes of undrinkable water produced during oil drilling. Last month the state ordered the operators of 12 wells to halt injections of the water out of fear that it could contaminate fresh drinking water supplies.
In an interview with the PBS Newshour on Wednesday, Brown indicated that curbing oil industry water use would not help a state so dependent on petroleum products such as gasoline and diesel.
“If we don’t take it out of our ground, we’ll take it out of someone else’s,” Brown said.
Suck it up, or well don’t as the case may be, serfs.