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CENTER for BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY Because life is good

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Oil companies are playing risky business again, this time with our oceans. California’s coast is the latest target. Oil companies are fracking offshore and dumping their toxic chemicals into the ocean.

Fracking and other unconventional production techniques, such as fracture acidizing, pose an urgent threat to marine wildlife and coastal communities. To get more oil out of old wells, oil companies use toxic chemicals at high pressures to force oil out of subsea rock, producing large volumes of waste contaminated with chemicals that are known carcinogens or pose other health hazards. Using new fracking technologies on aging infrastructure also increases the risk of accidents like the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill. More than 200 wells have been fracked off the coast of California, using toxic pollutants that cause cancer, genetic mutations and other harmful impacts.

Offshore fracking poses unacceptable risks to public health and the environment, imperiling marine ecosystems and the communities that depend on them. Offshore fracking in California threatens blue whales, elephant seals and leatherback sea turtles because toxic oil and fracking chemicals pollute key habitat — in addition to contributing to climate change, which of course threatens all of us.


Stopping offshore fracking is the best way to protect California’s coast and wildlife from this perilous practice. In 2013 the Center initiated a campaign urging the California Coastal Commission to put an end to offshore fracking; we held rallies to bring attention to the dangerous practice and advocated with the Commission to protect California’s coast from offshore fracking. In February 2014 we also petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to ban the discharge of fracking fluids into the ocean and to strengthen ocean discharge criteria. Oil companies can dump up to 9 billion gallons of wastewater, including fracking chemicals, into the ocean off California every year.

Halting California offshore fracking is especially important because waters off this state’s coast are crucial habitat for endangered blue whales, which depend on the Santa Barbara Channel for foraging. Offshore fracking is also taking place near the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and some newly designated “marine protected areas” — both of which host numerous endangered species very vulnerable to pollution, habitat destruction and other threats posed by fracking. Tell the EPA that our ocean is not a dumping ground and join our anti-fracking campaign today.


Blue whale photo courtesy Flickr Commons/SLiM