Image courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Wikimedia Commons.

Environmental groups in drought ravaged California have filed a lawsuit against one the state’s energy regulators to push for tighter wastewater disposal rules.

Earthjustice, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club have filed a preliminary injunction against the California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) claiming the agency’s regulations don’t do enough to protect the state’s withering water supply, Reuters said.

The lawsuit follows a similar suit filed by the same group of plaintiffs last week and is designed to expedite the court’s response to the matter.

Last month the DOGGR had to introduce emergency regulations when it discovered some producers were violating federal law by pumping produced water into protected aquifers.

The regulations stopped the injection of produced water into some wells but allows some producers to win an exemption from the Safe Drinking Water Act until 2017.

“We’re facing a clean water emergency in California and, despite a water-scarcity crisis caused by the worst drought on record, DOGGR is turning its back on its contamination problem until 2017,” Will Rostov, an attorney with Earthjustice told Reuters.

The DOGGR has halted wastewater injections at 23 wells so far and is currently reviewing all of the state’s 50,00 injection wells.

The agency said it has found no evidence that water supplies have been contaminated by water used during oil drilling.

A court hearing has been set for June 11.


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