For Immediate Release, June 11, 2014
Protesters Urge California Coastal Commission to Consider
Threat to Huntington Beach
Hundreds of Active Oil Wells in City's Coastal Zone Represent Enormous Fracking
Pollution Risk to Ocean, Coastal Communities
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif.— As the California Coastal Commission meets in Huntington Beach today, hazmat suit-wearing protesters with the Center for Biological Diversity and Food & Water Watch will urge commissioners to consider the threat fracking poses to the local environment because of the hundreds of active oil wells in the city’s coastal zone. The protest starts at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday outside Huntington Beach City Hall, 2000 Main Street.
“If fracking expands in Huntington Beach’s hundreds of oil wells, California’s coast will face a disturbing new pollution threat,” said Miyoko Sakashita, director of the Center’s oceans program. “The Coastal Commission has to put the brakes on fracking in the coastal zone before an oil spill or an accident with toxic fracking chemicals poisons our wildlife and ruins our beaches.”
The Huntington Beach field has 313 active oil and gas production wells, including 44 active offshore wells and many other wells just a short distance from the ocean. There are another 20 active offshore wells in the waters near Seal Beach, and more than 700 active offshore wells near Long Beach.
Oil companies have already fracked more than 200 offshore wells in waters off Huntington Beach, Long Beach, and Seal Beach, as well as in federal waters in the Santa Barbara Channel. 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.
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.
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 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.