As California lawmakers decide if resident ‘water wasters’ should face jail time as a drought strikes the state, water agencies are busy working on higher rates and fees to penalize individual residents. This is happening while the act of hydraulic fracturing is polluting massive amounts of water in the state. As the main facilitator in the pollution of California’s two biggest fresh water aquifers, the real question is: “who will report California Governor Jerry Brown?”
Directly, because of Governor Brown, fracking wastewater has been allowed to pollute key aquifers that contain high-quality water protected under the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act. This is a federal act that appears to be vestigial showing little repercussions to some of Governor Brown’s biggest campaign donors; big oil and natural gas interests.
During Governor Brown’s recent announcement of an executive order to curb the drought, he lectured Californians to change their water habits, putting him at the top of elite level hypocrites.
After receiving $2.49 million in direct contributions from big oil and natural gas interests, Governor Brown signed into law Senate Bill 4 (SB4) despite widespread opposition from the public; the same public he now lectures to. SB4, signed in September 2013, required California state regulators to approve all fracking permit requests.
Three months later, Governor Brown sat idly by as the The California Regional Water Quality Control Board renewed a five year resolution approving ‘waivers of reports of waste discharge and waste discharge requirements’ across the entire fracking, oil, and natural gas industries.
Less than one year later in 2014, tests revealed over three billion gallons of fracking wastewater had contaminated the California aquifers, making them unfit for human and agricultural exposure; in other words, ‘wasted water.’ Most of Northern California’s fracking involves deeper, horizontal shale wells which the EPA estimated in 2010 can use anywhere from 2 to 10 million gallons of water to fracture a single well.
Also of notable mention, the Arrowhead Brand Mountain Spring Water Company, under the umbrella of Nestlé, currently draws from 11 natural springs across California. It is reported that Nestlé pays only 65 cents for each 470 gallons it pumps out of the ground – the same rate as an average residential water user. Perhaps the most sobering admission has been that of Nestlé’s chairman and former CEO Peter Brabeck-Letmathe when he stated “Access to water is not a public right.”
Photo credit: California, United States (Reuters / Lucy Nicholson)