Environmental Groups Sue State Regulators Over Fracking

Unregulated Fracking in California Faces Court Challenge

By Stephen Stock, Liza Meak, and Mark Villarreal
|  Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013  |  Updated 1:37 PM PDT
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Environmental Groups Sue State Over Fracking

The Baldwin Hills Oil Field in Los Angeles, a 1,000-acre area that's been drilled for some 90 years, is reported to be the largest urban oil field in the country. Activists and neighbors are concerned about the use of "fracking" to access underground oil at the site.

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California’s once little-known and little-regulated fracking industry is once again coming under fire from environmentalists.

Several environmental groups on Tuesday filed a lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court, suing state regulators over the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, hoping to force regulators to devise new rules as they extract oil and gas from the Earth.

Click here to read lawsuit.

In April, NBC Bay Area's Investigative Unit first exposed the widespread and unregulated use of hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, to release oil and natural gas taking place in California.

The lawsuit claims the Division of Oil, Gas and Geotherman Resources (DOGGR) failed to properly evaluate the risks of fracking, required by the California Environmental Quality Act. Fracking was used for 600 wells in the state last year.

The lawsuit was filed by an environmental law firm, Earthjustice, on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity, Earthworks, Environmental Working Group and the Sierra Club.

As it stands today, California does not regulate fracking.

NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit Reporter Stephen Stock  talked to the state's top regulator, Tim Kustic, who acknowledged that California dropped ball on fracking regulation.

You can see that exclusive on-camera interview with Kustic on Wednesday on NBC Bay Area News at 6 and 11 p.m.


MORE:

Read Federal Lawsuit

Read Response To Federal Lawsuit

Read Environmental Working Group Report

Read Proposed California Law AB591

Read DOGGR's Response to NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit

Do you have a story we should investigate?  Contact: TheUnit@NBCBayArea.com

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