Fracking rules will protect groundwater

Contrary to what the recent editorial "Fracking rules need to protect water" claimed, California's draft regulations on hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") provide strong protections for groundwater.

Well operators would be required to pressure test well bore casings (the lining designed to protect groundwater) before, during and after. The rules also require notification 10 days before any fracking occurs.

Further, the draft rules would require posting of the content of fracturing fluids to a public website. Operators would be required to provide the content of "trade secret" fracking fluids in the event of a spill or release.

We want to work with the Legislature on legislation to ensure that the public has access to critical information affecting public health and safety.

Current law -- along with the proposed regulations -- is designed to keep our groundwater safe.

Several public forums will be held to obtain citizen input and broaden public understanding of the draft regulations. We hope to engage in a robust public discussion of the proposed rules.

Jason Marshall

Chief deputy director California Department of Conservation Sacramento

MTC's decision must be reversed


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The editorial exposing the MTC headquarters debacle was timely. The decision-making body for the project, the Bay Area Headquarters Authority, was to meet Dec. 19 to approve the project budget and design, without which it is a no-go. The meeting was canceled.

BAHA consists of six commission members, three who voted in favor of the purchase of 390 Main and three who voted against it. Steve Heminger, the executive director, must have feared, after the press exposures, that he would not have the votes.

Even with his heavy arm-twisting, the full commission only approved the purchase of the building by 8 to 6, not a resounding endorsement for an action that could endanger the viability of MTC.

The three authority members against the purchase are: Amy Rein Worth, cities of Contra County; Tom Bates, cities of Alameda County; and Dave Cortese, Santa Clara County.

Those in favor: Adrienne Tissier, San Mateo County; Bill Dodd, Napa County and cities; and Scott Wiener, San Francisco mayor's appointee.

These elected officials need to hear from the public. The MTC website -- www.mtc.gov -- has their contact info.

The next BAHA meeting is scheduled Jan. 23. Fortunately, no work has begun and, in fact, no permits issued, so it can be flipped. And since the commercial market has improved, perhaps make a profit.

Then the focus can be on consolidating the regional agencies into one functioning Regional planning organization.

Joyce Roy

Oakland

Zoo mystery funds should be returned

Unbelievable. Based on a recent article, we learn that the Oakland Zoo is the recipient of a $1 million donation with instructions on how it is to be spent, from a supposedly unknown benefactor. Zoo officials claim they haven't a clue as to who the donor is.

This surprise influx of funds has an odorous aura about it, and if there is a grain of truth about the lack of knowledge as to the identity of the donor, the contribution should be returned immediately with a polite "no thank you." The source of the funds could well be questionable.

Already, the Oakland Zoo is laying the groundwork for another attempt in the next election to convince voters that the additional funds they will seek will not be used to invade Knowland Park in their planned expansion program. We will believe it when it is explicitly spelled out in writing.

Mary Nielsen

Oakland