Protesters to Urge Federal Officials Not to OK Offshore Fracking in California

Camarillo, CA-(ENEWSPF)- Coastal residents and members of three conservation organizations will rally today outside the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management office in Camarillo against a federal proposal to let oil companies resume offshore fracking near the California coast.

The protest — organized by the Center for Biological Diversity, Food & Water Watch, and the Sierra Club Los Padres Chapter — starts at 11 a.m. at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management office, 760 Paseo Camarillo, Camarillo.

Regulators recently released a draft proposal to lift a moratorium on offshore fracking in federal waters near California and allow oil companies to resume dumping fracking chemicals mixed with wastewater into the ocean. The federal proposal to resume offshore fracking has drawn opposition from prominent scientists, Rep. Lois Capps, and other members of Congress and state officials.

Today’s protest comes days after the anniversary of the Refugio oil spill, which dumped more than 100,000 gallons of crude onto the California coast.

“Federal officials must rethink their appalling plan to allow oil companies to resume fracking in California’s fragile ocean environment,” said Kristen Monsell, a Center attorney who helped achieve the legal settlement that imposed the offshore fracking moratorium. “Last year’s Refugio spill highlighted the incredible damage oil production can do to our coast. Offshore fracking’s hazardous chemicals and extreme pressures make that danger worse. This toxic technique doesn’t belong in our ocean.”

“To protect our coastline and communities the Obama administration must stop offshore fracking,” said Rebecca Claassen, Santa Barbara County organizer for Food & Water Watch. “The current regulations allow drillers to dump up to 9 billion gallons of oil wastewater mixed with fracking chemicals each year into the Santa Barbara Channel, where we swim, surf, and fish. It’s like having an oil spill every day.”

“Offshore fracking operations are killing our ocean, and we need a strong moratorium in place to stop the destruction of our ocean,” said Jim Hines, chair of the Sierra Club Los Padres Chapter.

Offshore fracking blasts vast volumes of water mixed with toxic chemicals beneath the seafloor, at pressures high enough to fracture rocks. The high pressures used in offshore fracking increase the risk of well failure and oil spills.

At least 10 fracking chemicals 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. 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 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.