Oil and Gas
EAC currently focuses its energy work on projects within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, particularly on new infrastructure or industries within Maryland. Our oil and gas work began in 2015, where EAC investigated risky industry practices with wastewater from both unconventional (fracking) and conventional oil and gas wells. In 2016, the EAC employed a twofold oil and gas strategy in California – the publication of a white paper and submission of a petition to California’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) – to raise awareness of the human health and environmental impacts of oil and gas exploration and production and force regulatory changes. The white paper used examples from a wastewater disposal project in Monterey County’s San Ardo Oil Field to similarly identify flaws in California’s Underground Injection Control program. An examination of the project revealed not only that overpressure problems had existed in the San Ardo field for over 30 years, and the entire project had been plagued by operators attempting to minimize the overpressure problems, but also that DOGGR failed to exercise caution in approving, permitting, and expanding the water disposal project.
Another review of well records in Fresno County showed similar issues – many well records did not include most documents required pursuant to federal and state law. The EAC worked with media organizations, as well as advocacy groups like Protect Monterey County and the Center for Biological Diversity, to raise awareness of the problems raised in the white paper. The petition argued for stronger water resource protections by looking at the potential radius of impact surrounding a hydraulic fracturing well, as well as by identifying gaps in California’s chemical disclosure requirements.
EAC also began expanding its Oil & Gas program to the East Coast, by submitting public comments on Maryland’s proposed hydraulic fracturing regulations. The comments argued that the Maryland Department of the Environment used a flawed economic analysis to justify the impacts of hydrofracking on Maryland’s natural resources. More broadly, the EAC argued that the proposed regulations would not adequately protect human health and the environment.
We will continue to watchdog these industries, from pipeline projects in the Bay watershed to poorly planned energy projects before Maryland’s Public Service Commission.
The Maryland Public Service Commission is holding a public hearing on April, 1 2019, regarding CP Crane’s application for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) to modify its operations by decommissioning its coal plant and constructing and operating...read more