For Immediate Release, July 9, 2014

Contact:  Hillary Aidun, (909) 346-3702 (onsite cell),
Shaye Wolf, Ph.D., (415) 632-5301,

Protesters Urge California Coastal Commission to
Consider Offshore Fracking's Threat to Sea Otters

Biologist: Fracking Chemicals Used Offshore Endanger Wildlife

VENTURA, Calif.— As the California Coastal Commission meets in Ventura today, hazmat-suit-wearing protesters with the Center for Biological Diversity and Food & Water Watch will urge the commissioners to consider a biologist’s warning that chemicals used in offshore fracking pose a toxic threat to sea otters and other marine life. The protest starts at 11 a.m. Wednesday outside Ventura City Hall, 501 Poli Street, Ventura. 

“We now know that fracking chemicals pumped into California’s offshore oil wells pose a scientifically documented danger to marine life,” said Center biologist Shaye Wolf, who sent the letter. “The Coastal Commission needs to protect our waters by halting fracking off California’s coast.”

Oil companies have fracked at least 200 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.

As the letter to the Coastal Commission explains, oil companies fracking in California waters have admitted to using at least 10 chemicals that can harm aquatic life. Nonylphenol ethoxylate, for example, is extremely toxic and has a long-lasting effect on aquatic environments, according to scientific research. This chemical, which has been employed in at least 16 frack jobs in California state waters, can also bioaccumulate, that is, become dangerously concentrated in the bodies of creatures higher in the food chain, including sea otters.

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, directly into the ocean off California’s coast every year. Fracking chemicals can cause cancer and pose an ecological hazard in these wildlife-rich waters. 

For more about offshore fracking, please go to

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.

Go back