Of the three new oil projects under consideration in our county, ERG’s is the furthest along in the permitting process, creating three unwanted risks: financial loss, drinking/irrigation water contamination, and hazardous air quality.
Financially, ERG is insolvent and operating under a bankruptcy reorganization that requires the sale of all California assets to partially pay a creditor. The company owes $14,200,000 to the county in unpaid taxes.
ERG project has significant risk for our ground water. They will use acidizing and steam injection to drill through our North County aquifers to reach oil further below. That oil is so thick it requires steam injection and acidizing to bring it to the surface, along with millions of gallons of toxic liquid that must then be sent back underground via wastewater injection wells. Well casings leak and cement cracks, spilling toxic chemicals into the aquifer. The insanity of exposing this risk to our water is obvious and unacceptable.
ERG facilities create hazardous air quality. In two air quality measurement runs a month apart, I collected data at five ERG sites. The average for PM2.5 and PM10 was around 200 µg/m3. This is dangerous air quality, four times the recommended limit for safety. I experienced uncontrollable tremors in my hands for several weeks after each measurement run.
Do not be misled by ERG’s public face and sophisticated public relations campaign currently underway. False information is presented. This company poses unwanted risks for all of us.