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California Senate approves bill requiring oil industry to detail water use

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By Rory Carroll

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – The California state Senate on Thursday unanimously approved a bill requiring oil companies to report how much water they use in their drilling operations and the water’s source, a move that comes amid a severe statewide drought.

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Oil well operators used more than 80 billion gallons of water in California last year in “enhanced” oil recovery techniques such as steam injection and water flooding, which help bring heavier, thicker crude to the surface.

Water also comes to the surface during oil drilling, but it is unclear how much of that “produced water” is reused by the oil companies for new production because there are currently no reporting requirements, something the bill seeks to address. Oil drilling produced more than 130 billion gallons of water last year.

“The public has the right to know about the oil industry’s use of limited fresh water supplies,” said Senator Fran Pavley, the bill’s author.

Environmentalists applauded the bill’s passage, saying it is key to understanding who is contributing to the depletion of aquifers during the drought.

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“We think that the oil and gas industry is using far more water than they will admit, and applaud the California legislature, in particular the author of the bill, Senator Pavley, for recognizing the need for transparency,” said Miriam Gordon, California director of Clean Water Action.

Oil industry officials objected to an earlier version of the bill, which would have required oil producers to only use recycled water during times of drought, a move they said would be tantamount to a moratorium on oil production in the state.

Those objections were dropped when the bill was revised as a reporting-only bill, and the industry’s primary lobbying group, the Western States Petroleum Institute, said it was neutral on the final bill.

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Last year, Pavley authored a bill requiring the oil industry to report the amount of water used during hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a well stimulation technique where water and chemicals are injected deep underground to break up rock and free oil and gas deposits.

The bill passed on Thursday adds enhanced oil recovery and non-fracking operations to the mandatory reporting framework laid out in that bill.

The bill now heads to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk, where he is expected to sign it into law.

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(Reporting by Rory Carroll; Editing by Ken Wills)

[Image: “Oil Field In Desert” on Shutterstock]

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Ex-Houston cop is charged with murder after his fraudulent search warrant got a couple killed

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Former Houston police officer Gerald Goines has been indicted on felony murder charges in relation to a drug raid in January that left a couple dead, the Houston Chronicle reported this Friday.

Questions about the raid, which took place January 28, began to swirl when it was revealed that Goines had lied to obtain the search warrant. The raid resulted in a shootout that killed 58-year-old Rhogena Nicholas and 59-year-old Dennis Tuttle. Goines was also wounded in the shootout as were four other officers.

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‘Making things worse’: National Farmer’s Union chief unloads on Trump in blistering statement on trade war

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Roger Johnson, the president of the National Farmers Union, delivered a blistering rebuke to President Donald Trump after he responded to new tariffs from China by issuing a purported "order" telling American companies to look for alternative places to manufacture their goods.

In an official statement, Johnson pointed out that farmers so far have felt the brunt of the president's trade war, as China has slapped heavy tariffs on key agricultural products such as soybeans.

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