Today’s Top Stories:
In a surprising new study, Stanford researchers have found that drought-ravaged California is sitting on top of a vast and previously unrecognized water resource, in the form of deep groundwater. But extracting this deep groundwater could be expensive and would run the risk of causing considerable land subsidence. In addition, oil and gas companies, whose data provided the basis for the discovery, may already be despoiling some of this water with their activities, the research suggests. (The Washington Post, Tech Insider, San Jose Mercury News, Inside Climate News)
California may have a huge groundwater reserve that nobody knew about
The Washington Post
In a surprising new study, Stanford researchers have found that drought-ravaged California is sitting on top of a vast and previously unrecognized water resource, in the form of deep groundwater. But extracting this deep groundwater could be expensive and would run the risk of causing considerable land subsidence. In addition, oil and gas companies, whose data provided the basis for the discovery, may already be despoiling some of this water with their activities, the research suggests.
Much of California’s incredible new ‘windfall’ of underground water may be unusable
Now that California is officially in its fifth year of a severe drought, you might think that the recent discovery of an incredible amount of water deep underground would be cause for celebration. But don’t break out the Sonoma sparkling wine just yet – it’s not all good news. The new aquifers are 1,000 to 3,000 feet underground and usually much saltier than water close to the surface. But there’s another problem with this cache of the new “liquid gold”: A ton of it has been contaminated by oil and gas extraction in the valley.
California has three times supply of groundwater than previously thought
San Jose Mercury News
There’s a vast amount of untapped water in California, but whether it can make any difference for the drought-stricken state remains unclear. A new Stanford study indicates California’s groundwater supply is three times greater than previous estimates and could represent a potential “water windfall.” However, water experts not involved in the Stanford study say the newly discovered supply may be too deep and too difficult to recover.
In California, Study Finds Drilling and Fracking into Freshwater Formations
Inside Climate News
In California’s farming heartland, as many as one of every five oil and gas projects occurs in underground sources of fresh water, according to a new study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study estimated that water-scarce California could have almost three times as much fresh groundwater as previously thought. But the authors also found that oil and gas activity occurred in underground freshwater formations in seven of the eight counties.
Ventura oil spill investigation, clean up efforts continue
Ventura County Star
Investigators Monday were still looking for the cause of an oil spill that filled a dry gorge in Ventura Thursday, as well as working to determine whether or not that crude oil contributed to the deaths of wildlife found in the area, officials said. The spill from a pipeline operated by Crimson Pipeline Thursday originated near Grove Lane and Grove Street in the northwestern part of the city, with nearly 30,000 gallons of unrefined oil traveling about half a mile down the Prince Barranca and Hall Canyon, where it was stopped before it could advance closer to the Pacific Ocean.
Oil spill expert: environmental damage from Ventura oil spill minimal
It could have been worse. That’s the verdict on the Hall Canyon oil spill, which leaked nearly 30,000 gallons of crude oil into an arroyo outside Ventura on June 23, from an ecologist who studies the impact of oil spills on the California Coast.
Oakland bans coal shipments in a jobs vs. environment vote
The Oakland city council voted overwhelmingly late Monday to ban the storage and handling of coal within city limits, dealing a potentially fatal blow to an effort to build what would be the largest coal export facility in California. The council voted unanimously, with one member not present, on two ordinances related to the project. The ban also applies to petroleum coke. Under city policy, the ban will not receive final approval unless it is passed in a second vote, to be held July 19.
Groundwater could be a godsend, if we protect it
The Sacramento Bee
Our new study published this week in the Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences concludes that the Central Valley has almost three times more fresh water underground than the state estimates. Having more water than expected is good news, but our work raises some concerns. If pumping increases, so will land subsidence. Another concern is how common it is for oil and gas activities to occur directly into fresh and usable groundwater. We identified hundreds of cases where companies injected chemicals into fresh water through hydraulic fracturing and other processes.
Has The Fracking Industry Already Won The 2016 Election?
At a DNC platform committee meeting on Friday, June 24th, the committee voted to NOT include a ban on fracking as part of the Democratic Party’s platform for the 2016 election. The moratorium on fracking was proposed by 350.org founder Bill McKibben who was selected to join the Party’s platform committee by Senator Bernie Sanders. McKibben also introduced resolutions to support a carbon tax and prohibit new fossil fuel leases offshore and on federal lands, but these items were also nixed by a majority of the committee members.
Brexit’s Energy Lesson For California
While energy efficiency directives banning Keurig coffeemakers would be more likely to draw similar ridicule from Californians, there is a lesson to be learned from the Brexit decision: Too much regulation results in referendums to overturn it. It is widely believed that, with Brexit and new leadership, many of the EU’s environmental regulations, including the Paris Climate Agreement, will be adjusted or abandoned.
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