The Findings

1. Hundreds of Oil Wastewater Wells Near Active Faults

A majority of California’s active oil and gas wastewater injection wells are close to faults.

Distance of California’s Active/New Wastewater Wells to Recently Active Faults
Number of active/new wells (percent) Distance to recently active fault
87 wells (6%) Within 1 mile
350 wells (23%) Within 5 miles
834 wells (54%) Within 10 miles

2. Millions of Californians at risk for induced earthquakes

The oil industry operates many wastewater injection wells that are both very close to active faults and near California’s major population centers — such as Los Angeles and Bakersfield.

3. Research and monitoring: Dangerously inadequate

The increased earthquake risk from California’s existing wastewater injection wells or fracked wells is unstudied. And state oil regulators require no seismic monitoring at or near wastewater injection wells.

4. Regulations don’t protect Californians

Due to significant knowledge gaps, California’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources cannot safely regulate the earthquake risk from oil and gas production and wastewater disposal.

5. Oil industry wastewater poses unacceptable risks

Extracting the Monterey Shale’s oil could produce almost 9 trillion gallons of contaminated wastewater.

We need strong action due to the:

  • Environmental and health risks from drilling, well stimulation and wastewater disposal,
  • Links between wastewater wells and earthquakes in other states,
  • Potential for massive new wastewater production in the Monterey Shale, and
  • Gaps in scientific knowledge regarding induced seismicity

The best way to protect Californians is to halt hydraulic fracturing, acidizing, and other unconventional oil and gas recovery techniques.