The California State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board” for short) recently finalized criteria for monitoring aquifers near fracking operations. Two years after Clean Water Action sponsored legislation to require aquifer testing before and after fracking, California is now poised to finally have the information we need to understand the impacts of oil and gas development on groundwater and the environment. With extreme drought crippling the Central Valley, where 95% of fracking occurs protecting groundwater from Big Oil maybe one of the keys to California’s future. When Senate Bill 4 passed in 2013, requiring that the state finally start regulating fracking, it also mandated that the Water Board develop criteria for monitoring aquifers that could be impacted by fracking and other forms of well stimulation. Clean Water Action was instrumental in incorporating these ground water monitoring requirements into the bill and has been the leading the process to make sure they are implemented correctly. After more than a year and half of public workshops, meetings and comment periods, the Board unanimously approved the rules.
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