California

Californians At Risk

To the more than 5 million Californians living within a mile of oil and gas wells, the Golden State is oil country. Tens of thousands of active wells produce nearly 200 million barrels of oil every year, making California the third largest oil producing state in the country. Despite the fact that so many people live near oil and gas facilities, neither the industry nor the State have adequately investigated the impacts on public health. No extensive studies have been conducted to determine how communities and people living close to oil and gas in California are affected.

To  understand the impacts of oil and gas development on California communities Clean Water Action and our allies at Earthworks studied health and air contaminants in two communities in the heart of oil country - Lost Hills in Kern County, and Upper Ojai in Ventura County.

Stop Oil Companies from Dumping Toxic Wastewater

The oil industry is putting our water at risk by dumping wastewater into open pits. TAKE ACTION NOW to end this shortsighted and dangerous practice.

Across the Central Valley, already the home of severe water shortages, degraded groundwater and the worst air quality in the country, Big Oil is dumping wastewater containing a mixture of harmful chemicals, including volatile organic compounds and heavy metals, into unlined and open-air pits. These pits are designed both to let the toxic wastewater leak into the ground and evaporate into the air.

Unlocking Secrets about California’s Groundwater

California’s drought has depleted California’s reservoirs. It has also had a huge impact on our precious groundwater basins, causing hundreds of wells to go dry and leaving us more vulnerable to future droughts.  In normal years, groundwater represents up to 40% of California’s water supply (that rises to 50% or more in droughts).  In this extreme drought, our groundwater levels have been dropping at an unprecedented rate – up to 200 feet in some areas.

Recognizing that overpumping of groundwater endangers California’s future, the Legislature passed new laws in 2014 that will for the first time require groundwater to be sustainably managed. Clean Water Action fought hard to pass this legislation.  It’s a great victory!

Keeping drugs out of California’s waterways: Clean Water Action’s Safe Drug Disposal Program

We Can Keep Drugs Out of CA's Waterways

We are fortunate to live at a time when medical advances, including the development of antibiotics and other types of drugs, have enhanced and lengthened human life. Unused medications, however, pose some risks to human health and the environment that are not widely recognized. When they get into the wrong hands, unused medications can lead to drug abuse and accidental poisonings. Pharmaceuticals are also ending up in our waterways, including drinking water sources.

That is why Clean Water Action has joined with local government, wastewater professionals, senior citizen advocates, and those concerned with drug abuse to stop unused or out of date drugs from getting into the environment or into the hands of those who will misuse them.

Governor Brown’s Proactive Climate Change Position Needs to Focus More on Oil Drilling

In his inaugural address, Governor Brown promised to continue California's leadership on clean power by mandating that California's energy grid include at least 50 percent renewables by 2030 by expanding programs like rooftop solar, distributed generation, microgrids, and more. Clean Water Action applauds the Governor's leadership on clean energy and implores him to go even further. State Director Miriam Gordon released this statement:

"We are thrilled that Governor Brown has his sights set on reducing climate pollution. The Governor clearly understands that inaction on climate threatens our communities and families and he has charted a good course for the state. We look forward to working with Governor Brown to achieve the goals he has laid out.

Published On: 
01/06/2015 - 07:22

Take Action to Stop Dumping Oil and Gas Wastewater into Open Pits!

CWARoundButtonBlueTakeAction.pngYou'll never believe what the oil industry is doing with their toxic wastewater! Across the Central Valley, already the home of California's most severe water shortages, polluted groundwater, and the worst air quality in the country, Big Oil is dumping its wastewater into open and unlined pits.  Full of harmful chemicals, like cancer-causing benzene and crop-killing boron, this  wastewater  leaches toxic chemicals  into the ground and evaporates volatile organic chemicals into the air.

Crazy right?! Take Action Today!

San Francisco Stepping Up to Keep Drugs Out of the Bay

Thanks to the support of our local members who wrote letters to their County Supervisors, San Francisco has passed an ordinance requiring pharmaceutical manufacturers to pay for and implement convenient programs for consumers to dispose of unused and out of date medications.  Special thanks also goes to Supervisor London Breed, who led the fight to get the ordinance passed, and the staff at the Department of the Environment who will be implementing the new law.  

In late March, Mayor Ed Lee signed the ordinance into law.   This victory for San Francisco Bay and public safety comes on the heels of a 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals decision upholding a similar ordinance adopted by Alameda County in 2012 against an industry attack.  Not surprisingly, the industry opposed a new ordinance in San Francisco despite the fact that when companies band together and support proper disposal – like they do in Canada – it costs so little per bottle, they haven’t raised drug prices.

Learn more here

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