California Oil Wells Pumped Waste Into Aquifers

California State shuts 12 oil company wells that pumped waste into aquifers By David R. BakerMarch 3, 2015 Updated: March 3, 2015 8:54pm

California State shuts 12 oil company wells that pumped waste into aquifers
By David R. BakerMarch 3, 2015 Updated: March 3, 2015 8:54pm

Photo: Jae C. Hong, Associated Press

State shuts 12 oil company wells that pumped waste into aquifers

March 3, 2015 Updated: March 3, 2015 8:54pm

State officials have ordered oil companies to shut 12 more wells that injected oil-field wastewater into drinkable aquifers beneath California’s drought-stricken Central Valley, regulators reported Tuesday.The wells, used to dispose of water left over from oil production, are clustered in Kern County, the heart of the state’s petroleum industry. All have pumped water laced with oil and trace chemicals into aquifers that could be used for drinking or irrigation in the valley’s fields and orchards.

They are the result of three decades of bureaucratic confusion among state and federal regulators that allowed oil companies to drill hundreds of disposal wells into aquifers that were supposed to be protected by law. The problem was the subject of a Chronicle investigation in February.

Each of the 12 wells recently ordered closed was found to be injecting wastewater within a lateral mile and 500 vertical feet of a drinking-water well, prompting the shutdown order from the state’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources.

RELATED

File – This Jan. 16, 2015, file photo shows pumpjacks operating at the Kern River Oil Field in Bakersfield, Calif. California is proposing broad changes in the way it protects underground water sources from oil and gas operations, after finding 2,500 instances in which the state authorized oil and gas operations in protected water aquifers. State oil and gas regulators on Monday, Feb. 9, released a plan they sent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week for bringing the state back into compliance with federal safe-drinking water requirements. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, file) State pledges to stop oil firms from tainting aquifers Aletha, center, and Tom Frantz, right, and family friend Judy Reed, left, plant new almond trees as P.D., the dog, wanders by Jan. 29, 2015 on Frantz’s land in Shafter, Calif. Frantz is a fourth generation farmer who recently inherited his father’s land and currently has 4,000 almond trees. Frantz is concerned about the quality of his future water supply. State let oil companies taint drinkable water in Central Valley
‘A significant step’

“As we’ve said before, the protection of California’s groundwater resources — as well as public health — is paramount, particularly in this time of extreme drought,” said Steven Bohlen, the division’s supervisor. “Halting injection into these wells is a significant step toward that goal.”

So far, no drinking wells have been found to be contaminated by the underground wastewater injections.

“We intend to keep it that way,” Bohlen said.

The companies that own 10 of the injection wells voluntarily relinquished their well permits, Bohlen said. The division has filed cease-and-desist orders against the two companies that own the two other wells, demanding that injections stop within 24 hours. All of the companies will be required to test water quality in the affected aquifers and check for contamination in nearby drinking-water wells.

Eight other injection wells shut down by the state last year remain closed.

California produces more oil than any state other than Texas and North Dakota, and its petroleum reservoirs hold far more water than crude. Last year, oil companies extracted 205.3 million barrels of petroleum from the ground, along with 3.3 billion barrels of salty water, according to the division. Once it has been separated from the oil, most of the water is pumped back underground, sometimes into the same formation it came from, sometimes elsewhere — including usable aquifers.

A Chronicle review in February found 171 cases in which the division allowed oil companies to inject “produced water” into high-quality aquifers that were supposed to be protected under federal law. Another 253 injection wells went into aquifers whose water could have been used with more extensive treatment.

In addition, the division improperly issued permits for 2,021 other wells that are injecting water or steam into aquifers that also contain oil, usually as a way of squeezing more petroleum out of the ground.

The wells recently ordered closed are owned by California Resources Corp., Chevron U.S.A., E&B Natural Resources Management, Linn Operating Inc., Modus Inc. and Western States International Inc. Modus and Western States received cease-and-desist orders from the division.

“It’s encouraging to see them take immediate action when they see a threat,” said Andrew Grinberg, oil and gas program manager with the Clean Water Action environmental group. “Obviously we have concerns about all the wells that remain open.”

Series of foul-ups

The problem dates to 1982, when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency granted the division authority to enforce the federal Safe Drinking Water Act in California’s oil fields. Through a tangled series of snafus, the two agencies developed different lists of aquifers that were considered suitable for wastewater disposal. As a result, the division started issuing injection permits for some aquifers that should have been protected, a problem that persisted undiscovered until 2011.

According to a report issued Tuesday by state environmental regulators, the federal EPA and the division adopted two agreements on which aquifers to use, one in 1982 and the other the following year. But the signature page of the second agreement, including the date, was photocopied from the first, adding to the confusion.

3 shut wells reopened

The problem first sprang into public view last year when the division abruptly shut down 11 injection wells in Kern County, fearing that they had breached aquifers already used for drinking or irrigation. The owners of three of those wells were later allowed to resume pumping after they proved to state officials that their wells had not accessed drinking-water aquifers after all.

The division is now examining all of the disputed injection wells and has warned oil companies that injections into potentially drinkable aquifers must stop by Oct. 15.

David R. Baker is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: dbaker@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @DavidBakerSF

David R. Baker
David R. Baker
Business Reporter

BBC Program on Fracking, featuring Professor Iain Stewart.

ReBlogged from Lack of Environment: http://lackofenvironment.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/my-final-word-on-fracking/#respond

iain_stewart

Professor Iain Stewart

***

Letter written to Professor Stewart by Lack of Environment, author Martin Lack: http://lackofenvironment.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/my-final-word-on-fracking/#respond

Herewith appended below is an email I sent today to Professor Iain Stewart (and copied to all those named in it).

Dear Professor Stewart,

I wanted to express my appreciation for the sensitive way in which you handled the issues in last night’s Horizon programme and for all the facts, figures and research findings it contained.  I was particularly interested in the evidence that shale gas has escaped from poorly-constructed wells in the USA.  Even if the UK can improve on the 6 to 7% failure rate in the USA, 100% success (i.e. no failures) is highly improbable.  Therefore, if fracking must be pursued (for whatever reason), this would make it imperative that the BGS establish baseline monitoring for methane as soon as possible. Would it be possible to get a copy of the transcript of the programme (or a list of References)?

Given my geological background and my MA in Environmental Politics, I have written a great deal about Fracking and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) on my blog.  However, having started out very much opposed to both Fracking and CCS, my position has evolved as a consequence of ‘exchanges of views’ I had last year with Professor Peter Styles (Keele) and with Professor Robert Mair (Cambridge/Royal Society).  As a result of these exchanges – summarised or linked to here on my blog – I would agree with Peter that we probably need shale gas.  However, I believe Peter also agrees with me that we probably cannot afford it*.  I also understand that the remit of the Royal Society specifically excluded the long-term sustainability implications of pursuing fracking.

Nevertheless, this leaves me wondering whether you could encourage the BBC to do a second programme to address the consequences of humans burning all the Earth’s fossil fuels simply because they are there; and/or the need for ‘Western’ per capita energy consumption to be drastically reduced?  Having read David MacKay’s book, Sustainable Energy: Without The Hot Air, I think our biggest problem is that most people do not think holistically about the problems we face or, even worse, they seem to think concepts such as ‘ecological carrying capacity’ are just eco-Marxist propaganda.  However, although it would seem that CCS is now going to be essential in order to minimise anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD), I think it is also the biggest obstacle to getting politicians to take decisive action to decarbonise our power generation systems.

Even if such a second Horizon programme is not likely, I remain very appreciative of all you have done – and are doing – to raise the profile of ACD as an Earth Science issue that should be of concern to all.

Kind regards, [etc]

ReBlogged from Lack of Environment: http://lackofenvironment.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/my-final-word-on-fracking/#respond

* If fracking becomes the new energy boom, it is very hard to see how CCS will ever be able to be rolled-out on a global scale to keep pace with unabated CO2 emissions.

Bill Moyers and Sheldon Wolin, 2008. Do we live in a Democracy?

Bill Moyers and Sheldon Wolin 2008  Video I

Bill Moyers and Sheldon Wolin 2008  Video II

***

Wikipedia:

Wolin’s work addresses participatory democracy with primary focus on the United States.

He makes a distinction between democracy as system of governance

and any of the formal political institutions of the state.

In other words,

he decouples democracy from governance

and towards a political system based on democratic principles.

***

Sheldon Wolin

Sheldon Wolin

Sheldon S. Wolin (born August 4, 1922) is an American political philosopher and writer

on contemporary politics.

He is currently Professor Emeritus at Princeton University.

His most famous work is Politics and Vision: Continuity and Innovation in Western Political Thought.

In 1950, Wolin received his Harvard University doctorate for a dissertation titled Conservatism and Constitutionalism:

A Study in English Constitutional Ideas, 1760–1785. After teaching briefly at Oberlin College,

Wolin taught at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1954 to 1970.

In a political science department that was largely composed of empirical studies of micro-political issues,

Wolin was a political theorist who managed to build that component of the program by bringing

Norman Jacobson, John Schaar, and Hanna Pitkin into the department.

He was a major supporter and interpreter to the rest of the world

of the theory behind the Free Speech Movement,

and he became a mentor to one of the FSM’s more prominent activists,

 Michael Lerner on whose Ph.D. committee he served.

He also published frequently for The New York Review of Books during the 1970s.

From 1973 through 1987, Wolin was Professor of Politics at Princeton University

where he mentored a large number of students

who have subsequently become leading figures in contemporary political theory,

including most notably: at Berkeley, Hanna Pitkin (Emeritus, Berkeley),

J. Peter Euben (Duke University) and Harlan Wilson (Oberlin), and at Princeton, Uday Mehta (Amherst College),

Wendy Brown(Berkeley), Frederick M. Dolan (Emeritus, Berkeley and California College of the Arts),

Dana Villa (Notre Dame), Nicholas Xenos (Massachusetts), Kirstie McClure (UCLA)

and Cornel West (Princeton).

At Princeton, Wolin led a successful faculty effort to pass a resolution urging university trustees

to divest from endowment investment in firms that supported South African apartheid.

Aside from Oberlin, UC Berkeley and Princeton,

Wolin has also taught at UC Santa Cruz, UC Los Angeles, International Christian University (Tokyo, Japan),

Cornell University, and Oxford University.

US President Lyndon Johnson (right) meets with...

US President Lyndon Johnson (right) meets with special assistant Bill Moyers in the Oval Office, White House, Washington, DC, 29 November, 1963. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seed of Light Award Nomination, Thank you MisBehaved Woman!

Seed Of Light

Thank you MisBehaved Woman!

seed-of-light-award

You only need one to start a forest!

Planting is easy: if you receive this award, simply pass it on to another blogger who inspires you through the beauty of their words/images as well as any blog which brings joyful awareness to nature and our connection to each other.

I happily pass this lovely little seed along to:

SUNSET DAILY: http://sunsetdaily.wordpress.com/ 

How does your garden grow? Flower remedies for healing…

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The Pomegranate tree (Punica granatum)

This tree was planted by my grandmother in 1955.

 Last year the fruit went into making jam,  grenadine, and vodka.

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Yarrow (Achillea millifolium)

 The flower of invulnerability. 

Achillea commemorates the Greek hero Achilles, who used yarrow to heal wounds.

Throughout history until the early part of the 20th century it was used in treating wounds,

and to staunch bleeding.

Its oils are anti-inflammatory and antiseptic,

the tannins are astringent and stop bleeding,

the silica promotes tissue repair.

An infusion is good for and eyebath, as skin lotion for varicose veins.

Good for the digestive tract, stimulates appetite.

*

Yarrow stalks were used in China, to reawaken the spiritual,  I Ching used yarrow stalks for divination.

Last year I made Yarrow Beer. 

***

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Angelica (Angelica archangelica)

The flower of inspiration.

In ancient history it was a protective herb against illness, as well as evil spirits.

It stimulates the circulation, and is good for people who feel the cold.

It warms and invigorates the stomach, it is used for nausea, poor appetite and weak digestion.

It detoxifies the blood and protects against infection.

The oil is antibacterial and anti-fungal, a disinfectant uses to preserve food (wrap in leaves).

It relieves period and premenstrual pain.

***

Apple tree, Yarrow, Borage, Chamomile, Lemon balm, Lavender, Rue, Chrysanthemum, Sage, and Thyme.

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Morning Glory with Feverfew.

Feverfew (Chrysanthemum parthenium, Tanacetum parthenium)

The flower of relief.

“Feverfew is ruled by Venus and hath commended it to succour our sisters to be a general strengthener

of their wombs, and to remedy such infirmities as a careless midwife hath there caused;

if they will be pleased to make use of her herb boiled in white wine,

and drink the decoction, it cleanseth the womb, expels the afterbirth

and doth a woman all the good she can desire of a herb”.

                                                               Culpeper

It is currently a remedy for headaches and migraine. Research and clinical trials

have shown that intractable migraines in 70% of sufferers improved after taking feverfew.

One in three had no further attacks. Can be eaten fresh, makes a bitter tea.

***

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Echinacea (Echinacea augustifolia) Purple coneflower.

The flower of wholeness.

Three of the nine species are native to North America, and have medicinal benefits.

Purple coneflower was one of the most important medicinal plants

known to the native Americans.

Applied externally to wounds, burns, insect bites and swollen lymph glands,

taken internally for headaches, stomach aches, coughs and colds, to treat measles and gonorrhoea.

From 1895 to 1930 American doctors proved the effects of E. angustifolia in healing boils and abscesses,

blood poisoning, postpartum infection, malaria, typhus and TB.

German studies in the last 60 years have proved the remedy for septic conditions,

rheumatoid arthritis, antibiotic resistance, whooping-cough in children,

flu, catarrh, chronic respiratory track infections, gynecological infections,

urinary infections and skin infections.

***

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Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)

The flower of bees.

Lemon balm influences the limbic system in the brain which is concerned with

mood and temperament. A sedative, enhancing relaxation and inducing natural sleep,

calming tension and anxiety, and even mania and hysteria,

lemon balm is also restoring.

It can be taken as a tea frequently during the day or night.

Good for the digestive system, a bitter tonic support to stimulate the liver and gall-bladder.

A strong infusion in a warm bath will help calm you.

***

DSCN1093

Rue (Ruta graveolens)

The herb of grace.

Rue is a powerful remedy and low doses are the rule.

It is used in the treatment of strained eyes and headaches caused by eyestrain.

It is useful for nervous headaches and heart palpitations.

It is an antispasmodic, and is used in treating the nervous system for indigestion.

The rutin strengthens fragile blood vessels and varicose veins.

An ointment containing rue is good for gouty, rheumatic pains

and for sprained or bruised tendons.

In Chinese medicine rue is specific for snake and insect bite.

The tea expels worms.

CAUTION: Do not use during pregnancy. It can cause a rash.

***

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Borage (Borago officinalis) and Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)

Borage

The flower of courage. 

Borage has a relaxing effect, and is said to dispel grief and sadness.

Modern research shows that borage stimulates the adrenal glands, the organs of courage,

increasing the secretion of adrenaline.

The hormonal properties of borage are present in the seeds which contain gamma linoleic acid.

The oil from the seeds can be used for menstrual problems,

allergies such as eczema, hay fever, and arthritis.

Borage tea can be taken to clear boils and skin rashes,

for arthritis and rheumatism, during infections to bring down a fever.

The mucilage in borage has a soothing action to

relieve sore throat and to sooth cough.

***

Chamomile 

The flower of equilibrium.

The famous physician Dioscorides recommended it as a medicine for fevers in 900 BCE.

The Egyptians revered chamomile for its medicinal virtues, for its power to cure acute fever,

and dedicated it to the sun god Ra.

It was one of the nine sacred herbs of the Saxons who used it as a sedative.

German and Roman chamomile’s are similar, and serve the same uses.

It relaxes and relieves tension and spasm, and recommended

for colic in babies, abdominal pain, and any digestive upsets.

***

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Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)

The flower of elation.

Clary sage is a relaxing tonic to the nervous system, and excellent for stress.

A tea helps headaches, asthma, migraine, insomnia and indigestion.

It has an antispasmodic action and can relieve muscle tension, abdominal pain and constipation,

reduce period pains and ease childbirth.

It will help lift the spirits in depression.

Used topically, it can be applied to the skin to draw out inflammation and infection.

Aromatherapy Oil

Clary sage oil can produce a heightened state of elation or

euphoria, deeply relaxing and sleep-inducing.

***

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***

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

The flower of survival.

Used in medicine in Ancient Greece and was praised in herbals in the Middle Ages.

Taraxacum is from the Greek word, taraxo, meaning pain or remedy.

The leaves are edible, and may be used in salads, or cooked like spinach.

This plant is highly nutritious, rich in vitamins C and B, and pro-vitamin A,

and minerals potassium and iron.

Dandelion is a spring tonic, it expels toxins, wastes and pollutants through the liver and kidneys,

cleaning the blood.

***

Garden and vegetables…to keep me alive and healthy…grown from seeds.

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Sources:

Flower Power, by Anne McIntyre, 1996, Henry Holt and Co. NY.

The New Age Herbalist, Editor Richard Mabley (1941), 1988, Simon and Schuster Inc. Gaia Books Ltd., London.

Achillea millefolium (Yarrow) in Scotts Valley...

Achillea millefolium (Yarrow) in Scotts Valley, CA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Feverfew

Feverfew (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Challenges New Shell Tar Sands Mines .

Sherman Alexie, Poet, Author, and Free Thinker…

http://vimeo.com/63878449

Sherman Alexie

Born on a reservation in Washington state, Alexie has been navigating

the boundaries in American and Native American culture for two decades.

He is the author of 22 books, including The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,

winner of the 2007 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, War Dances,

winner of the 2010 PEN Faulkner Award,

andThe Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven,

a PEN Hemingway Special Citation winner.

Smoke Signals, the film he wrote and co-produced,

won the Audience Award and Filmmakers’ Trophy at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival.

Smoke Signals (film)

English: American author, poet and filmmaker S...

English: American author, poet and filmmaker Sherman Alexie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)