Farmers Against Fracking Sign On Letter
Dear Governor Brown:
We, the undersigned, are members of California’s agricultural community and are concerned about the potential impacts of fracking on our livelihoods. We are aware that the oil industry is planning to expand fracking throughout California to places where there has been robust agricultural production. Because of the potential risks to this production, we urge you to place a moratorium on fracking and undertake a comprehensive study on fracking’s potential impacts to California’s water, air, and soil.
The expansion of fracking in California will demand large volumes of water that could come at the expense of agricultural operations. Farmers across California are already coming to grips with dwindling water supplies and could lose additional supplies to contamination from fracking operations. Fracking operations immediately pollute water by mixing it with up to 500 toxic chemicals to induce the fracturing of the rock. It is estimated that each frack job uses between 500,000 to 3,000,000 gallons of water, which becomes polluted and removed from the hydrological cycle.
In addition to supply, the global demand for California’s oil will likely increase the price of water to the detriment of farmers. Many small and mid-sized farmers will not be able to compete for water versus large multinational oil companies that are willing to pay much higher prices. Oil companies have already begun outbidding farmers in California, Colorado, and other states for water supply. Without a reliable water supply, many farmers could be pushed out of farming.
The expansion of fracking could worsen groundwater pollution. Contamination can occur from methane and toxic fracking chemicals, as well as from the transportation and disposal of toxic — and at times even radioactive — wastewater. Once it occurs it could be impossible or extremely expensive to clean up. Industry documents show drilling wells routinely failure, and that old drilling wells can serve as conduits for pollution to spread across a wide area. Nationwide, there have been over 1,000 cases of groundwater contamination from drilling. In Shafter Occidental Petroleum Corporation was recently caught on video dumping fracking fluids next to an almond orchard in Shafter in violation of California law.
This is of great concern to our community because agricultural production and economically related activities rely on clean water and soil free of toxins for their success. It would be a grave mistake to allow fracking to proceed unabated and deal with the consequences later. Thus we call on you to implement a moratorium now in order to responsibly protect California’s water and agricultural industry.
Tom Frantz, Almond Farmer Shafter, CA