For Immediate Release, April 10, 2014

Contact:  Patrick Sullivan, (415) 517-9364,
Hillary Aidun, (909) 346-3702 (onsite cell)

Protestors Urge California Coastal Commission to Halt Offshore Fracking,
Support Local Effort to Stop Fracking in Santa Barbara County

Demonstration Opposes Dumping of Fracking Fluid Into Santa Barbara Channel

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.— As the California Coastal Commission meets in Santa Barbara today, hazmat suit-wearing activists with the Center for Biological Diversity, Santa Barbara County Water Guardians, Californians Against Fracking, Food & Water Watch, and Environment California will protest against offshore fracking and the discharge of fracking chemicals into the Santa Barbara Channel.

The protest starts at 11 a.m. Thursday on the beach across from the Coastal Commission meeting in the Hyatt Hotel, 1111 East Cabrillo Blvd., one day before a California legislative hearing on offshore fracking in Santa Barbara. Today’s demonstration also highlights a ballot initiative drive to prohibit onshore fracking in Santa Barbara County.

“Offshore fracking is a toxic threat to the Santa Barbara Channel and the entire California coast,” said Miyoko Sakashita of the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Coastal Commission must protect our beaches, wildlife and communities from offshore fracking’s many dangers, from increased oil spill risk to dangerous fracking chemicals.”

Oil companies have fracked hundreds of wells off California’s coast, and about half the oil platforms in the Santa Barbara Channel discharge wastewater into the sea. The oil industry has federal permission to dump more than 9 billion gallons of wastewater, including fracking fluid, a year directly into the ocean off California’s coast. Fracking chemicals can cause cancer and pose an ecological hazard in these wildlife-rich waters. 

“Communities like ours are at imminent risk of contaminated water, air pollution, revenue losses in tourism and agriculture and huge increases in greenhouse gas emissions from unconventional oil extraction,” said Rebecca Claassen of the Santa Barbara County Water Guardians, an all-volunteer group collecting signatures for a voter initiative aimed at banning fracking and other dangerous oil-extraction techniques in the county.

Fracking involves blasting massive amounts of water and industrial chemicals into the earth at pressures high enough to crack geologic formations and release oil and gas. Oil companies have fracked at least 200 wells in waters off Long Beach, Seal Beach and Huntington Beach, as well as in federal waters in the Santa Barbara Channel.

A recent Center analysis of 12 frack jobs in California waters found that at least one-third of chemicals used in these fracking operations are suspected ecological hazards. Drawing on data disclosed by oil companies, the Center also found that more than a third of these chemicals are suspected of affecting human developmental and nervous systems.

For more about offshore fracking, go to For more about the Santa Barbara Water Guardians ballot initiative, go to

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 675,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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