The Culver City Democratic Club SUPPORTS AB 356, Groundwater Protection and Underground Injection Control Program Reform, which protects groundwater from oil and gas operations and reforms the underground injection control program.
Groundwater resources play a vital role in maintaining California’s economic and environmental sustainability. California’s 515 alluvial groundwater basins and sub-basins provide close to 40 percent of the state’s water supply in an average year. And in dry or drought years, groundwater accounts for as much as 60 percent of the state’s water supply. Many disadvantaged communities rely on groundwater for 100% of their water supply.
The recent revelation that over 2,500 oil and gas wells were permitted by the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources to inject wastewater and other fluids into federally protected aquifers shows that action must be taken to protect California’s groundwater. These injections violate the federal Safe Drinking Water Act and fail to protect groundwater that potentially could be used for drinking water, irrigation or other beneficial uses. Considering we are currently in our fourth year of extreme drought, the time to act is now.
AB 356 enhances oversight and accountability within the Underground Injection Control (UIC) Class II program for the long-term protection of aquifers. AB 356 will ensure that aquifer exemptions are thoroughly vetted, require injection projects to be regularly reviewed, and mandate groundwater monitoring plans for injection well projects. This will make sure oil and gas operators’ injection projects are injecting into appropriate aquifers and that underground injection does not pollute water that could be used for drinking water or other beneficial uses.
The requirements of AB 356 are a small yet crucial step in protecting our groundwater resources, and for these reasons the Culver City Democratic Club strongly supports AB 356 and invite you to support it as well.