Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, June 30, 2015

Contact: Kristen Monsell, (510) 844-7100 x337,

Just Weeks After Oil Spill, California Officials OK Nine New Offshore Fracks

Gov. Brown Urged to Halt First Fracks in State Waters Since 2013

LONG BEACH, Calif.— In the wake of the devastating Refugio oil spill near Santa Barbara, the Center for Biological Diversity today urged Gov. Jerry Brown to halt plans for extensive new offshore fracking near the California coast.

The state’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources recently approved permits for nine new fracks in Long Beach Harbor. The new offshore fracks, which would begin in August and continue through December, would be the first in state waters since 2013.

“Haven’t we seen enough dead wildlife and polluted beaches?” said Kristen Monsell, a Center attorney. “Every offshore frack increases the risk of chemical pollution or another devastating oil spill. Gov. Brown has to recognize that halting offshore fracking is critical to protecting marine animals and coastal communities from this toxic technique.”

Offshore fracking blasts vast volumes of water mixed with toxic chemicals beneath the sea floor at pressures high enough to fracture rocks. The technique was last used in state waters in December 2013, when oil companies fracked four offshore wells near Long Beach. Before that, oil companies fracked at least 200 wells in waters off Long Beach, Seal Beach and Huntington Beach, as well as in the wildlife-rich Santa Barbara Channel.

The Center sued the U.S. Interior Department earlier this year for violating three federal laws by rubberstamping offshore fracking in federal waters off California’s coast without analyzing fracking pollution’s threats to ocean ecosystems, coastal communities and marine wildlife, including sea otters, fish, sea turtles and whales.

At least 10 fracking chemicals routinely used in offshore fracking in California could kill or harm a broad variety of marine species, including sea otters and fish, Center scientists have found.

“Approving new offshore fracking just weeks after Santa Barbara’s devastating oil spill is a new low,” Monsell said. “Gov. Brown’s oil regulators just saw how dangerous oil production in coastal areas can be, but they didn’t hesitate to greenlight these fracks. The high pressures and dangerous chemicals used in this toxic technique have no place in our beautiful ocean.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 900,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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