State Sues Interior Department to Prevent Fracking Off Coast

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An oil production island off Long Beach. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The state Monday filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles challenging a federal environmental assessment that cleared the way for hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — acidizing and other advanced well treatments on the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf off the coast of California.

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In addition to extending the state’s reliance on fossil fuels, research links fracking and other types of well stimulation treatments with increased water and air pollution, as well as the potential to harm marine life, according to the suit filed in federal court by California’s attorney general and the state Coastal Commission.

“We must take every possible step to protect our precious coastline and ocean,” said California Attorney General and Sen.-elect Kamala D. Harris.

“The U.S. Department of Interior‘s inadequate environmental assessment would open the door to practices like fracking that may pose a threat to the health and well-being of California communities,” she said. “We must balance our energy needs with our longstanding commitment to protecting our natural resources and public health.”

In 2013, it came to light that advanced well treatments were being used off California’s coastline, prompting two environmental organizations to file lawsuits challenging the use of fracking and acidizing off-shore without adequate environmental review, according to the complaint.

“The modern environmental movement began here in California in 1969 when a devastating oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara killed countless sea birds and marine animals,” said Coastal Commission Chair Dayna Bochco. Our coast is a treasure that we must preserve and protect for future generations and we must not take unnecessary risks with it.”

The Interior Department’s environmental assessment, issued in May 2016, found that fracking poses no significant impact,” the lawsuit states.

— City News Service

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