New Lawsuit Over Fracking Dogs DOGGR

Oil rigs just south of town extract crude for Chevron at sunrise on July 22, 2008 in Taft, Calif. (Photo: David McNew/Getty Images)

For years it's been an underground business that the California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) has allowed to operate in the shadows. But the issue of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," is now dogging the Division like a relentless bloodhound.

For several months, DOGGR has had to make up for lack of attention to the issue by attending countless community meetings, giving news interviews, and generally being held accountable. Now add the news that it's being sued by an environmental organization for turning a blind eye to fracking all these years.

The Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity has filed a complaint, charging that DOGGR has issued "permits for oil and gas operations...without tracking, monitoring or otherwise supervising the high-risk unconventional injection practice." The lawsuit seeks to force the division to actively regulate the process.

Nearly a year ago, correspondent Jennifer London and I aired our investigation into fracking in California, and found a complete lack of regulation on this issue. Our interview with the division's chief, Tim Kustic, was the first-ever television interview granted by a DOGGR supervisor -- and it was incredibly revealing. Kustic acknowledged that DOGGR couldn't refute the possibility that fracking could be damaging the environment and putting human health at risk because it has never tracked when and where fracking has occurred in the state. After our investigation aired, DOGGR began considering fracking regulations. Those draft regulations were submitted late last year and are now going through the public comment and revision process.

If you want to see how exactly fracking works, what the controversy is all about, and see the DOGGR interview for yourself, check out our fracking investigation, as well as our follow-up on the issue of fracking and man-made earthquakes.

We'll continue following this issue with new reports. Stay tuned.

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