California’s oil and gas regulator gave fossil fuel companies permission to drill 171 wastewater injection wells into clean aquifers and 253 into aquifers that were salty but usable with treatment, the San Francisco Chronicle reports in what Climate Progress calls a “bombshell story”.
“Wastewater from oil and gas drilling can contain chemicals like arsenic and benzene, heavy metals, and radioactive material,” Climate Progress reports. California is still in the midst of a four-year megadrought.
“A large portion of the waste injections happened in Kern County, which according to the American Lung Association has the third-worst air quality in the country,” Atkin writes. “Kern’s population is also disproportionately low-income and non-white compared to other parts of the state.”