In Dry California, Thirsty Oil and Big-Ag Industries Exempt from Water Regulations
Despite historic drought, Governor Jerry Brown has not put restrictions on oil drilling and fracking, but is focusing on urban usage of water
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.
“Both of them use tremendous amounts of water,” Earthjustice attorney Trent Orr told Common Dreams.
Brown is “putting restrictions on everyone except oil and agriculture… it seems like the powerful industries have gotten a pass,” Orr continued.
Adam Scow, California director of Food & Water Watch, also said Wednesday, “It is disappointing that Governor Brown’s executive order to reduce California water use does not address the state’s most egregious corporate water abuses. In the midst of a severe drought, the Governor continues to allow corporate farms and oil interests to deplete and pollute our precious groundwater resources that are crucial for saving water.”
California’s oil and gas industry uses more than 2 million gallons of fresh water a day to produce oil through fracking, acidizing, and steam injections, according to environmental estimates. In 2014, California oil producers used up nearly 70 million gallons of water on fracking alone, state officials told Reuters on Thursday.
While that number is lower than projected, fracking and toxic injection wells must not be given “a continuing license to break the law and poison our water,” Zack Malitz, an organizer with environmental group Credo, told Reuters.
“Fracking and toxic injection wells may not be the largest uses of water in California,” he added, “but they are undoubtedly some of the stupidest.”
The bulk of Brown’s mandate focuses on urban water use, which as the LA Timespoints out, makes up less than a quarter of the total water consumption in the state.
“The government’s response to this growing crisis has been behind the curve,” Jonas Minton, water policy adviser for the Planning and Conservation League and a former state water official, told the Times.
Rather than focusing on urban usage, Brown should go after the industries which contributed the most to the drought, environmental activists say.
Scow continued, “Governor Brown should stop… the ongoing contamination of groundwater aquifers by toxic wastewater from oil and gas operations. It is disturbing and irresponsible that the Brown administration continues to allow oil companies to contaminate and rob Californians of these fresh water sources.”
According to Orr, the looming repercussions of the drought will be felt for years down the line and may emerge in yet-unknowable ways. In the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, for instance, species of fish once abundant in the area are now nearly extinct, he said—a development which poses an ominous question: “What kind of natural systems will we have in California?”
“The environment desperately needs water,” he added. “We’re very disturbed at the unequal sharing of the burden… There’s no principled reason for it.”
As to why these industries found themselves exempt from facing the consequences of California’s historic drought, Orr said, “The agriculture industry is tremendously powerful in California, and oil and gas are tremendously powerful period.”
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We are imploring Kamala Harris to take a second look at the year long Tustin PD investigative file into the alleged sexual abuse of Lexi. This case never should have gone to Orange County District Attorney for prosecution due to multiple conflicts between the powerful attorneys the alleged molester hired and the DAs office.
Click here to sign the petition help bring Lexi home!
Lexi Dillon, a 9-year old American girl, has been raped, sodomized and abused by her father, a Thai-Pakistani citizen who is not allowed to re-enter to re-enter the U.S. (reportedly for national security reasons). Though the Tustin Police Department found overwhelming evidence of the abuse, prosecutorial and judicial misconduct in Orange County have resulted in the abuser being given full custody. Now Lexi is being held a virtual prisoner by handlers hired by her foreign abuser who is not allowed back into the U.S. She is in imminent danger of being sent to Thailand as a child sex slave. This girl knows too much. Lexi is now being prevented from talking to anyone who will help. Her wish is to be with her mother. Her mother is a professional, a dentist, who loves her daughter very much. On Friday, June 6, 2014, a travel ban was lifted that had prevented the father from removing her from Orange County. She could disappear at any time.
Following is a list of charges on which the Tustin Police found enough evidence to request prosecution:
California Penal Code Section 288 (a)-Lewd Act
California Penal Code Section 173 (a) (b) Child Abuse
California Penal Code Section 188.5 -Continual Sexual Abuse of a Child
California Penal Code Section 289 (a) (1) (A) - Anal Penetration
California Penal Code Section188 (a) (a) Oral Copulation
California Penal Code Section 188.7 (b)- Oral Copulation with a Victim under 10 Years Old
Only Gov. Jerry Brown (916) 445-2841 and Attorney General Kamala Harris (800) 952 5225 can save this little girl. Helps us www.savelexi.com and call the Governor and the AG immediately to demand they take the case from the Orange County District Attorney.
The corporate takeover of California is on hold according to the latest polls out of the nation’s largest state. Just nine days before the election, the Los Angeles Times and University of Southern California poll shows a nearly impossible uphill battle for the big business ticket of former eBay CEO Meg Whitman and former HP CEO Carly Fiorina.
Among likely voters in the governor’s race, Brown leads Whitman 50% to 38%. In the race for United States Senator, two term Senator Barbara Boxer maintained an 8% lead. The leads by Democrats come from a brand new constituency, those who "never" go to church. More on that later.
After cleverly branding the Liberal Democrats as something different, an alternative to the old parties, Clegg surged in popularity after the first debate. Brought down to earth after the second appearance and greater scrutiny, Clegg then revealed his true colors.
Proposing an alignment with the party of Margaret Thatcher and her latest political heir is a betrayal of the image that Clegg advanced from the start of his campaign.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the effort was necessary to break the "chain of terror that links these terrorists to actions in the United Kingdom." "To keep the streets safe in Britain," he argued, "we have to take on al Qaeda wherever it is." Conservative Cameron argued more of the same. Did Richard Holbrooke write this dialog?.
As the United States General in charge of Afghanistan laments the death of too many innocents, these three are cheer leading for more war. I wonder if any of them read that news and, if so, what effect did it have on them?
An interesting observation was made today by the pollster for Martha Coakley, the hapless Democratic candidate for the Massachusetts senate seat held almost forever by Ted Kennedy. It appears polls are showing that the voters, especially independents who would normally vote Democratic in a liberal blue state like Massachusetts, have instead run to support the Republican candidate as the agent of change. Wasn’t that supposed to be Barack Obama’s signature tune?
Massachusetts voters have given up on President Obama as an agent for anything but the status quo, and this is most evident in his willingness to dole out trillions of dollars in direct and indirect support to the banks. The Massachusetts polls show this issue to be foremost on the minds of the voters.
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