Center for Biological Diversity

Media Advisory, November 5, 2018

Contacts:  Miyoko Sakashita, (510) 844-7108,
Steve Jones, (415) 305-3866,

Court Hearing Today in LA Challenges Offshore Fracking Approval

Feds Failed to Study Oil Extraction Practice's Harm to Marine Life, Public Health

LOS ANGELES— A lawsuit against the federal government’s authorization of fracking in federal waters off California is scheduled to be heard today in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

The lawsuit challenges the federal government’s failure to properly study the impacts of fracking on marine life and public health before allowing this dangerous oil extraction technique.

“This case is crucial to protecting California from oil spills and toxic fracking chemicals. As the Trump administration tries to expand offshore drilling in the Pacific, we can’t keep letting the oil industry dump its waste in our waters,” said Kristen Monsell, the Center for Biological Diversity’s lead attorney in the lawsuit. “It’s really disturbing that federal officials continue to ignore the danger offshore fracking poses to whales, sea otters and people.” 

When: Today at 1:30 p.m.

What: Hearing on lawsuit challenging federal approval of fracking offshore oil wells off Southern California without first studying its impacts to marine life and public health.

Where: First Street U.S. Courthouse, Courtroom 6A, 350 West 1st Street, Los Angeles.

Who: Center for Biological Diversity, along with co-plaintiff Wishtoyo Foundation; the Environmental Defense Center; and the California attorney general’s office.

Media Availability: Representatives of the Center will be available for interviews after the hearing.

Oil platforms in the Santa Barbara Channel have federal permission to annually dump up to 9 billion gallons of produced water — including fracking chemicals — into the ocean. Oil companies have fracked at least 200 wells off California’s coast. The court last year rejected the Trump administration’s efforts to dismiss the case.

At least 10 fracking chemicals routinely used in offshore fracking could kill or harm a broad variety of marine species, including marine mammals and fish, Center scientists found. The California Council on Science and Technology has identified some common fracking chemicals to be among the most toxic in the world to marine animals.

The lawsuit is the result of three separate cases that have been consolidated. The Center and Wishtoyo Foundation filed one of those cases; and the state of California and Environmental Defense Center filed the others.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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