California permitted oilfield discharge in protected water

Feb 5, 2015 12:06 PM by News Staff

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (AP) - Regulators in California, the country's third-largest oil-producing state, have authorized oil companies to inject production fluids and waste into what are now federally protected aquifers more than 2,500 times.

State records analyzed by The Associated Press show that the practice risks contamination of underground water supplies that could be used for drinking water or irrigation.

The AP found that nearly half of those injection wells - 46 percent - were approved or began injections in the last four years under Gov. Jerry Brown, who has pushed state oil and gas regulators to speed up the permitting process.

It happened despite growing warnings from the Environmental Protection Agency that state regulators were out of compliance with federal laws meant to protect underground drinking-water stores from oilfield contamination.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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