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Oil Wastewater on food?

Food and Water Watch

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FW:  May 19k 2015

 Dear Patrick,

Our friends at Water Defense, an organization founded by Mark Ruffalo, have just proven how far the oil industry will go for profit. Water Defense's chief scientist Scott Smith initiated a groundbreaking water testing project in California that revealed that Chevron has actually been selling its wastewater to farmers to irrigate their crops.¹ This water goes through minimal testing by the state, so we have no idea if this wastewater is actually clean and safe enough to touch our food. Some of Water Defense's testing of the water has shown it to contain acetone, methylene chloride (a potential carcinogen) and oil.

Do you want oil wastewater being used on the food from California that you feed your family? Ask Governor Brown to protect water and ban fracking now!

You've probably heard about California's severe drought and the first-ever mandatory water restrictions, requiring people to reduce water consumption by 25%. While we should all save water, residential and municipal water use accounts for less than 15% of California's water consumption. California's Governor Jerry Brown avoided placing any restrictions on the oil industry, one of the worst abusers of water in the state. The oil industry produces about 130 billion gallons of toxic wastewater a year, and Water Defense has now exposed that some of the deadly chemicals in that wastewater are being used on food grown in California.

Can you ask Governor Brown to stop the oil industry from putting our water and food at risk?

In the midst of this historic drought, when California can't afford to waste a single drop of water, the oil industry uses at least 80 billion gallons of fresh water in California each year. That's enough to supply a year's worth of water to the cities of San Diego and San Francisco combined.

Farmers in the Central Valley compete with the oil industry for precious groundwater supplies, and crop contamination from wastewater is also a big concern. Big Oil has illegally dumped its toxic sludge into hundreds of unlined pits in the Central Valley, which can seep into the ground from these pits, threatening nearby water supplies and farms.

In 2010, farmer Fred Starr sued Aera Energy after its unlined pits ruined local groundwater supplies used to irrigate his crops. He won $8.5 million in the settlement, but lost that land forever due to the toxins he unknowingly spread over his fields. We can survive without oil, but we can't survive without food and water, and the Central Valley of California produces much of the fresh food we eat in the U.S. Enough is enough! Governor Brown must not allow the oil industry to put our water and food at risk!

That's why we've been fighting Big Oil by working with our partners and communities across the state to ban fracking and other forms of oil and gas extraction. We want to ban fracking across California, and we are working city by city, county by county to make that happen. Despite Big Oil's endless spending power, we've been successful in helping our local allies secure bans in San Benito, Santa Cruz and Hermosa Beach.

In the midst of an unprecedented drought, we cannot let the worst water abusers off the hook.

Tell Governor Brown to rein in this out-of-control industry and ban fracking now!

Thank you for your continued support,

Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director

Wenonah Hauter

Executive Director

Food & Water Watch



1.Central Valley's growing concern: Crops raised with oil field water, Los Angeles Times, May 2, 2015

2.Oil and Water Don't Mix with California Agriculture, High Country News, December 15, 2010