By the California Independent Petroleum Association Arguments against hydraulic fracturing in California took a hit last week when Plains Exploration and Production Co. (PXP) released the results of an independent study that found hydraulic fracturing was not a threat to the environment in the Baldwin Hills area of Los Angeles County. The study, by an independent consultant, reviewed the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing as part of a 2011 lawsuit settlement with Culver City and environmental groups, which opposed PXP’s use of hydraulic fracturing. The parties to the settlement included PXP, the county of Los Angeles, and a group of petitioners, including Community Health Councils, Inc., Natural Resources Defense Council, Culver City, Citizens Coalition for a Safe Community, and Concerned Citizens of South Central Los Angeles. The study was developed over the course of a year and evaluated the site specific impact of several completions conducted at the oil field. The study, which was peer-reviewed by two outside specialists, addresses concerns about groundwater contamination, well integrity, earthquakes, air emissions, and community health. The study is the first site specific study of its kind in California and will provide community and policy leaders tangible monitoring results they can use to provide factual answers to questions about hydraulic fracturing. Between this study and the comprehensive Environmental Impact Report prepared a few years ago, the Inglewood Oil Field may be the most analyzed and monitored oil field in California. A summary of the study’s findings: Microseismic monitoring: Microseismic monitoring confirmed that the high-volume hydraulic fracturing took place at least 1.5 miles below the designated base of fresh water. Groundwater: Groundwater beneath the Inglewood Oil Field is not a source of drinking water, but before-and-after tests of groundwater quality showed no effects from high-volume hydraulic fracturing high-rate gravel packing. The study also provides evidence to demonstrate there is no hydrologic connection between the oil field and the area where the nearest public groundwater well is located. Well integrity: Testing before, during, and after the use of high-volume hydraulic fracturing and high-rate gravel packing showed no effects on the integrity of the steel and cement casings that enclose oil wells. Methane: Methane readings detected during the soil and groundwater testing were minor and fell below EPA recommended monitoring levels. The test results found no indication of impacts from high-volume hydraulic fracturing or high-rate gravel packing. Ground movement and subsidence: Before-and-after studies found no detectable effect on ground movement or subsidence from high-volume hydraulic fracturing and high-rate gravel packing. Induced earthquakes: Vibration and seismicity measurements, including data from the California Institute of Technology-Baldwin Hills accelerometer, found no detectable effects on vibration and no induced seismicity from high-volume hydraulic fracturing and high-rate gravel packing. Noise and vibration: The use of hydraulic fracturing and high-rate gravel packing in the Inglewood Oil Field remained within the noise and vibration limits of the CSD. Air emissions: The emissions associated with high-volume hydraulic fracturing were within the standards set by the South Coast Air Quality Management District. Community health: A health assessment conducted by the LA County Department of Public Health, which analyzed a time period during which conventional hydraulic fracturing and high-rate gravel packing had been conducted at the Inglewood Oil Field, found no statistical difference between areas near the field and LA County as a whole. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude theses activities did not create adverse health risks.