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The Monterey Shale, Fracking For Oil And San Diego Concerns

The Monterey Shale, Fracking For Oil And San Diego Concerns


Richard Behl, Professor, Department of Geological Sciences,Cal State Long Beach

Peg Mitchell, Environmentalist, Sierra Club of San Diego


It has been compared to the early days of the California Gold Rush: the oil industry is converging on what's believed to be one of the world's largest onshore reserves of shale oil.

The reserve is known as the Monterey Formation, which stretches 1,700 miles from Southern California to the San Joaquin basin. The Department of Energy estimates it could hold as much as 15 billion barrels of oil, but getting to that oil isn't easy: The hard rock formation requires a process known as hydraulic fracturing — or "fracking" — to crack open the shale rock and remove oil.

However, fracking is controversial. There are concerns about its effect on groundwater and even fault lines.

On Friday, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 4 into law, the nation’s strictest law for hydraulic fracturing and the first for California. The oil industry isn't happy about it, nor are environmentalists who say it's not enough.

We take a look at how hydraulic fracturing may play out in California, and what effect it may have on us here in San Diego.

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