Fracking Test wells in the San Antonio Valley

HOLD (Halt Oil Lease Drilling) has been sending me emails for a while, and today, I decided I finally needed to share with interested readers some of what is going on directly behind the Santa Lucia Mtns. from us.

I have seen a number of specials and reports on this concept of “fracking” technology, and it is very controversial, potentially deadly to humans, animals, and the environment, and has been temporarily halted in the state of New York. If you are not familiar with it, google it and read up. It is frightening. Yet, that is what one company is proposing to do on lands leased from the BLM here in Monterey County.

If you’ve never heard of fracking, here is a very recent informative article, with an environmental slant, that also includes a video demonstrating just one of the concerns of this process:
Fracking Information

Filmmaker Josh Fox has released the highly acclaimed film Gasland about the fracking process. Fox was approached about leasing his land for drilling and set out to explore the Halliburton-developed technology and its environmental and social impacts. The film won a Special Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film festival, and will be running on HBO through 2012. You can get information about the movie, the action one can take and a wealth of information at the website: Gasland, the Movie

HOLD held a meeting in Lockwood on Saturday, Dec. 4th, and this is a portion of what the organizers of HOLD sent me:

“Approximately 30 people attended a public discussion on the issue of oil drilling in the Hames and San Antonio Valleys, where new techniques of deep horizontal drilling and fracking have made heretofore economically unfeasible resources a focus of development by a major oil company. The meeting was convened by the local citizen’s group HOLD.

Steve Craig of the Ventana Conservation and Land Trust discussed his dealings with Monterey County and Venoco, the company behind the expansion, which potentially targets over 6,000 acres in private and BLM stewardship.

His group appealed a decision on this issue and has a hearing scheduled for next week before the Monterey County Board of Supervisors (Planning Commission?). He received a call from a Venoco representative yesterday stating the company will ask the county to go ahead with the EIR (at the company’s expense), rather than accept the county staff’s recommendation that a consultant be hired to assess whether an EIR is necessary. [What may actually be on the agenda is whether or not to waive the appeal fee for Craig’s group, with the EIR concerns delayed for further reports and/or action.]

The local Monterey shale is basically the same as that on the East Coast where these practices have been used for long enough to have a cursory idea of their environmental impacts.

No one knows about long term effects, such as in our case, being only 8 miles from the Pacific Ocean, salt water intrusion into deep layers of the earth newly disturbed by these invasive techniques of mineral extraction.

Craig pointed out that the US Forest Service did an extensive study and has totally rejected any further drilling on the public lands under their stewardship in Monterey County, and that Fort Hunter Liggett is dramatically expanding its water delivery system to accommodate planned expansion. BLM (Bureau of Land Management) will release its Environmental Impact Statement on the issue soon.

If you would like to review the Monterey County Planning Commision Staff Reports and Exhibits for the December 8, 2010 meeting, go to

Educate yourself, and then express your educated opinion about the use of “fracking” in Monterey County to anyone who will listen, but particularly for those who won’t. I don’t think it will happen, but I’d rather be knowledgeable, and follow this issue here in Monterey County or any neighboring county, ready to take action, then to suddenly learn it has been implemented while I was living in ignorance.

There are many important environmental issues that need to be addressed, but I can’t think of anything more important than the permanent and irreversible damage to our water systems. It is basic survival. Get informed, and get active.

10 thoughts on “Fracking Test wells in the San Antonio Valley

  1. Have I missed the coverage of this issue in the more “mainstream” news media? I check the Herald every day, the Pine Cone and Monterey Weekly each week, but admit I don’t check the Californian very often. Is this being investigated and reported? If not, why?

  2. Gasland was wake up call to anyone living near a fracking operation.

    The reason this is not being investigated Kate is because the damage is silent, the only victims are the environment and the long term health of the people who rely on ground water near the sites.

    I saw Gasland on HBO and it changed my perspective on this type of drilling.

  3. Hi Kate , I did watch the 60 minutes report on Fracking on the East Coast. A speaker there reported that the US has the oil reserves in shale oil , that is twice the amount of crude oil that Saudi Arabia has and is now selling that crude to the US .

    It seems to me that the Fracking oil industry doesn’t have in place sufficent environmental safeguards for this process, yet !

    It really hurts me thinking , that our US dollars buying oil from the Saudai’s is used to fund terrorists activities , so with that in mind , I can support any way to reduce the US spending on foreign oil , which alternatively could be produced at home in the US .
    So is there a way to make Fracking environmentally safe for us ?

  4. Kate, thanks for posting this. Now a global issue with Haliburton getting busted for corruption in Africa.:Payoffs to politicos for natural gas/fracking exploitation and China pushing hard for Natural Gas expansion. Cameron Douglas Cedar Street Times did a little piece for local awareness (see the Green Page, November 26th issue) Thanks for keeping this in view and local.

  5. Hi Kate…OH u got me started this morning..LOL..Having my husband work in Environmental Remediation for the last 35 years. Cleaning up the Oil Companies left over waste in several countries, has been an experience to say the least. However in my opinion although Fracking would be Job Security for Remediation work, the cost to the Environment would be to large of a price to pay. Yes we do have a Very Large reserve of oil in the USA. Yes it is twice if not more the amount of crude oil that Saudi Arabia has. However the cost to refine that oil is very expensive, so rather than give Americans Jobs, it is cheeper to hang on to our oil and purchase forign oil. Also their are different grades of oil. Some oil is cleaner and requires less refining that other oil. I think there are only two oil refineries operating in the USA. I could be wrong on that because our income comes from cleaning up the mess not making the mess. Fracking causes major water pollution.That is listing only one problem..I do not believe that their is a reasonable and cost effective solution to remediating the pollution that is or will be a result of Fracking. Let alone the process of being able to undo the damage to the environment. The Remediation Industry has a big enough handfull just dealing with soil and extracting contaminates from the surface areas that happen to get into our water. Not to mention disposing of those contaminates and returning environmental areas to what they were before contamination occured. It is a very long process, envolving many agencies in California. In my opinion we should be looking at cleaner solutions to our energy. Not to mention what this Fracking might do to add pressure on our Earth Quake Fault’s. Humm..Enough from me today..I say.. NO Way in Hell.

  6. Kate, fracking is another example of industrial exploitation inasnity. Did a post on it a while back, I hope your readers take this seriously. When will the madness stop?

  7. Good for you, Kate, for letting your people know about this. I saw a post on 47 White Buffalo’s Blog about this and watched a TV segment on fracking. I would not want this near me.

  8. I cannot belive the stuff that has been written about frac’ing since the movie Gasland came out. That was patent BS! Frac’ing is a process of fracturing rock at great depths which allows oil and gas to migrate to the wellbore from the tight formations being targeted. It is only possible to fracture the rock a short distance away from the wellbore due to the natural pressures found at depth (and which increase the deeper you drill into the earth). The rest of the rock remains unfractured and tight like it was before the well was drilled into the target. There has never ever been a problem with fracturing affecting fresh water since fresh water only is present within the upper few hundreds of feet of the surface of the earth. Deeper than that, the rocks all contain salt water because almost all of the were originally deposited in an ocean. Frac’ing wells has been a common practice of the oil industry for at least 70 years. Now someone wants to make it a problem because they don’t understand it. All I saw in the blogs I have read was a bunch of sheep that want to believe something because it was in a movie. Come on people! It was false to start with but it makes a good movie.

  9. Given that there is almost always bias on both sides of an issue, I will speak to my more unbiased geologist friend, who does not use the fracking process, and was not even in the geology field for many years, and seek his views on fracking. If its been around 70 years, as claimed, there ought to be some good studies around, not done by Haliburton et al.

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