For Immediate Release, October 8, 2014
Protestors Urge Federal Action Against Offshore Fracking in California
Newport Beach Demonstration Highlights Fracking Pollution Threat to Air, Water
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.— As the California Coastal Commission meets in Newport Beach today, Center for Biological Diversity protesters in gas masks and hazmat suits are delivering a letter urging commissioners to press the federal government for greater oversight of fracking in federal waters off California’s coast. The protest starts at 10 a.m. today at Newport Beach Civic Center, 100 Civic Center Drive, Newport Beach.
Protesters want the Coastal Commission to stop oil companies from fracking offshore wells and dumping fracking chemicals into California’s ocean. They also want commissioners to demand “consistency review” of fracking in federal waters, which would require public notice and oversight of fracks in the Santa Barbara Channel. The Coastal Commission has already taken steps to demand more information from federal agencies that permit offshore drilling, but the agencies have been largely unresponsive.
“Offshore fracking pollution threatens California’s ocean and the very air we breathe,” said Miyoko Sakashita, the Center’s oceans program director. “The Coastal Commission must push the federal government to give Californians a say in the use of this toxic technique off our coast. To protect our marine wildlife and our coastal communities, we need to halt offshore fracking.”
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. Oil companies have fracked hundreds of wells off California’s coast, and the oil industry has federal permission to annually dump more than 9 billion gallons of wastewater, including chemical-laden fracking fluid, directly into the ocean off California’s coast.
Center scientists recently released a report outlining the dangers of toxic chemicals, air pollution and earthquake risk linked to offshore fracking. Fracking can expose coastal communities to air pollutants that cause cancer and other illnesses. Most offshore fracks in California have occurred within three miles of the coast, near communities like Long Beach, which has some of the nation’s most polluted air.
A recent poll conducted by Public Policy Polling and commissioned by the Center found that 55 percent of Californians back a ban on offshore fracking, and 65 percent want oil companies prevented from dumping fracking chemicals into the ocean.
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.