For Immediate Release, May 15, 2014
Demonstrators in Hazmat Suits Urge California Coastal Commission to Halt Offshore Oil Fracking
Marin Protest Highlights Dumping of Fracking Chemicals Into California's Ocean
INVERNESS, Calif.— Wearing hazmat suits and carrying boogie boards, anti-fracking activists with the Center for Biological Diversity, Mainstreet Moms and 350 Marin will protest today at noon outside a California Coastal Commission meeting at the Inverness Yacht Club, 12852 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Inverness. In 2013 Marin became the first county in California to pass a resolution asking the state to stop fracking.
Protesters want the Coastal Commission to stop oil companies from fracking offshore wells and dumping dangerous fracking chemicals directly into California’s ocean. Offshore fracking involves blasting water and industrial chemicals into the sea-floor at pressures high enough to crack geologic formations and release oil and gas.
“Every offshore frack job increases the toxic threat to California’s fragile ocean ecosystems,” said Miyoko Sakashita, the Center’s oceans program director. “The Coastal Commission has a clear responsibility to safeguard our beautiful beaches, coastal waters and wildlife from dangerous fracking chemicals and the increased oil spill risk linked to using this controversial technology in offshore wells.”
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 annually dump more than 9 billion gallons of wastewater, including fracking fluid, directly into the ocean off California’s coast.
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.
The chemical X-Cide, used in all 12 offshore frack jobs examined by the Center, is classified as a hazardous substance by the federal agency that manages cleanup at Superfund sites.
Because of the dangerously high pressures involved, fracking also increases the risk of a catastrophic accident like the 1969 oil spill that contaminated beaches from Santa Barbara to Ventura County.
Fracking compounds the risks of conventional drilling by intensifying the activities, burdening aging infrastructure, and extending the life of oil production. The risks of oil spills, vessel traffic and air pollution are substantially increased, as are greenhouse gas emissions and other dangers to the coastal environment.
For more on the Center’s offshore fracking campaign, go to www.StopOceanFracking.org.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 775,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.