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1990 - "Duplicates" premieres at L.A. Phil; concerto by CalArts Music School dean Mel Powell wins Pulitzer Prize [story]
Mel Powell

Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Friday, Mar 13, 2015

darrylmanzer0215As Chicken Little so eloquently said, the sky is falling. And deep-well injection can’t happen here, and fracking here is bad, too, and traffic is bad, and Chiquita Canyon Landfill is bad, and Cemex is bad, and…

First off, folks: Deep-well injection has been happening here in the SCV for a long time. It was and is a method to force the oil up out of the ground. Oil wells at a depth of a few hundred feet to over 15,000 feet deep have had water injection. Many of those wells are only a few miles from Stevenson Ranch and the west side – maybe 3 miles at the most. To add insult to injury, those wells have also been fracked.

On the other side of our little valley, we have some thick and low-gravity oil in Placerita Canyon. To make it easier to pump, steam is forced down the wells so the pumping can continue.

Most of the wells up near Castaic have had the same treatment. No record of any of those activities causing any earthquakes.

Sure, in 1893 or there was a quake that some folks in Newhall blamed on the drilling in Pico Canyon. Turns out the quake was centered miles deeper than the wells in Pico.

So we hear, “What about the earthquakes in Oklahoma and other parts of the Midwest where fracking and injection are taking place?”

What about that? Not too far from the quakes in Oklahoma, but in the state of Missouri, there was the largest and most powerful quake ever recorded or felt in these here United States of America. Centered near a little place called New Madrid on the Mississippi River, that quake was so strong and lasted so long that the big river actually reversed flow. It all happened around 1811 and lasted for more than a year, what with the aftershocks and such. That fault is due to slip again really soon. No injections near it.

There is no doubt in this old sailor’s head that what was the proposed location of the “deep water injection well” in Stevenson Ranch was a stupid and outlandish idea – but one has to look at the facts and recognize what has happen here long before. The simple fact remains: After nearly 60 years of water injection and fracking, plus steam injection, there has yet to be an earthquake attributed to that.

So let’s run around and create a video that only serves to scare a lot of folks who don’t know what has happened here in the SCV. Let’s make sure that video shows crying kids and earthquake damage. Let’s make sure everyone knows that the sky is falling – when it isn’t.

Then there were the folks who were protesting at the Santa Clarita City Council on Tuesday night followed by the Sanitation District meeting on Wednesday. The well was stopped in Stevenson Ranch. Do they have any idea where it could go?

If you come to me with a problem and don’t at least have part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

Where were all of those folks when it came to Chiquita and Cemex? And why do they come to the Santa Clarita City Council when they are outside of city limits? Shouldn’t they go down to the meeting of the county supervisors? Especially since their supervisor is their representative on the Sanitation District board?

They don’t want to join to the city of Santa Clarita but are sure that is the place to yell and scream. Many of them won’t say a discouraging word about Cemex or Chiquita, but let them think there will be drilling near them…

We’ve got some big problems here in the SCV. The list is long and ugly. Let me name them:

– Chlorides in the discharge from the treatment plant.

– Cemex.

– Chiquita Canyon Landfill.

– High-speed rail.

– The continued drought.

– Traffic.

Is that a long enough list for all y’all?

Anyone have solutions to these problems?

Does anyone besides me find it odd that the folks who blame the City Council of Santa Clarita for many of these problems are going to that same council to ask for help with those problems?

Darryl Manzer grew up in the Pico Canyon oil town of Mentryville in the 1960s and attended Hart High School. After a career in the U.S. Navy he returned to live in the Santa Clarita Valley, where he serves as executive director of the SCV Historical Society. He can be reached at dmanzer@scvhistory.com. His older commentaries are archived at DManzer.com; his newer commentaries can be accessed [here]. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].

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  1. Abigail says:

    Very insightful. This Valley does have a list of problems and it just keeps getting longer.

  2. Dave Warburton says:

    You raisgood points, Daryl. Two things, though…first, as I understand it, the quakes in Oklahoma and parts of adjacent Texas began after fracking started big time there. And these area had no known previous history of quakes, especially as numerous as they were (hundreds). Each geological location has its own dynamics; what is safe one place may not be safe somewhere else. Second, as for high-speed rail, while folks who are directly affected by it do not like the idea, long term, CA is going to need some kind of passenger rail upgrade to help meet its city-to-city transport needs in the future. We can only expand the highways so much. I don’t have an answer to the problem — maybe look at using the current I-5 corridor instead?

  3. nadiya says:

    Thank you for the info. Very well done.
    No matter how long it’s been going on; Fracking is still bad and should be stopped.

    Yes we have a lot of problems and all of them should be addressed. As for the I-5? Seriously, it’s just getting to be like the 405 parking lot. Oh, and while we are talking traffic, yikes!? Can’t the trucks have their own roads or own drive times or anything?!

    Just sayin’.

  4. Mike Navarro Mike Navarro says:

    Not in scv not scv’s problem. Unfortunate but our city dollars should not be used on out of city limit matters

  5. Chadman says:

    Google “does fracking cause earthquakes” and it’s not hard to find scientific studies that state that although the fracking doesn’t cause the quakes, the storage underground of the waste fluids does. Quit a lot in Texas apparently. Maybe the people who are planning to frack here have a smarter plan. We can hope.

    OTOH, this is California. We have quakes. Might was well get some oil too.

    • SCVNews.com says:

      Not “planning to frack.” Fracking & deep-well injection has been going on in the Santa Clarita Valley since at least the 1960s, and is still done today.

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