South Kern Sol/New America Media, News Report, Alfredo Camacho
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — About 100 people packed into a chamber at the Kern County administration building in Bakersfield to testify at a public hearing Wednesday on the state’s new fracking regulations, saying they are already at a breaking point with pollution in their communities, and that they’ll be impacted the most from the state’s new fracking plan.
The California Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) is seeking community input on regulations of a controversial oil extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, put in place with the passage of SB 4.
Hearing attendees expressed concern over the potential harm to air and water from fracking, in a region already burdened with air pollution and groundwater contamination.
“We live in a town that’s right next to the largest hazardous waste dump in the Western U.S.,” said Marisela Mares a la Torre, who is a part of Greenaction, an environmental organization based in Kettleman City in Kings County. “We’ve long suffered from arsenic in water due to pesticides, the bad air quality that’s all over the valley, and now they want to frack and cause more pollution.”
The regulations go into effect in January 2015 – those regulations are open for public comment now; however, interim regulations regarding “water quality monitoring and testing and public transparency” before the final rules are approved are in place now, according to DOGGR.
“Our people are coming to a breaking point,” said Maria Saucedo, who is also part of Greenaction. “We can’t take anymore and we have to get involved.”
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