Center for Biological Diversity has issued a notice letter to the US Government, which allowed offshore fracking in waters off California’s coast without analysing risks to human health and endangering marine species, such as whales and sea turtles.
The notice stating that the government is violating a key national environmental law has been filed with two federal agencies in charge of regulating offshore oil development.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement are urged to suspend any operations involving hydraulic fracturing off California’s coast according to the notice letter.
A full National Environmental Policy Act analysis of fracking pollution’s threats to the environment and wildlife in the area is also required to be conducted, the letter noted.
The bureaus will continue to perform operations, including processing development plans and applications for drilling permits, despite the federal shutdown.
Recently a media investigation revealed that oil companies are fracking in federal waters in the wildlife-rich Santa Barbara Channel, which was polluted due to a 1969 oil spill.
Center for Biological Diversity oceans programme attorney and director Miyoko Sakashita said oil companies fracked in California’s coastal waters with dangerous chemicals.
"We need an immediate halt to offshore fracking before chemical pollution or an oil spill poisons the whales and other wildlife that depend on California’s rich coastal waters," Sakashita added.
According to records revealed by the Center for Biological Diversity, in the past three years at least a dozen offshore oil wells in California’s state waters have also been fracked.
The records revealed that hazardous substances, including 2-Butoxyethanol, methanol and other cancer-causing chemicals, are employed during offshore fracking in California.
Image: Depiction of shale gas hydraulic fracturing. Photo courtesy of Mikenorton.