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Environmental Groups Protest Possible Return Of Fracking Along Calif. Coast

A proposal this week to reinstate fracking for oil and natural gas along the Southern California coast drew protestors to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s office in Camarillo.  KVCR’s Matt Guilhem has more on what some are calling a rushed decision.

Federal officials with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management are expected to release a final decision by the end of the week on whether they’ll lift a statewide moratorium on fracking that was imposed in January. The agency recommended doing just that in a recent draft environmental assessment. Tomas Rebecchi, Ventura County organizer with the nonprofit advocacy group Food and Water Watch, says this is a rush decision with major consequences.

Rebecchi1 :14  "They’re allowed to dump nine billion gallons of contaminated wastewater directly into our oceans every year. The environmental review that they put together was inadequate and too quick and there needs to be more studies done because this can definitely negatively impact our health and our ocean."

The draft assessment argues that fracking can be done safely. But Rebecchi maintains offshore fracking is inherently dangerous, citing the risk of oil spills and pollution from wastewater, and a possible link to earthquakes.

He adds that dozens of wells are already in place in federal waters 3 miles off Santa Barbara, Ventura, L.A., and Orange counties, drilling with traditional techniques – able to restart using fracturing technology right away.

Rebecchi2 :10  "There’s been over 200 offshore fracks in state and federal waters here in California. And on land here in Ventura County, too, there’s been a significant amount of fracking. It’s the second most fracked county in California."

The moratorium came about as part of a settlement after conservation groups sued the federal government, alleging it was rubber stamping applications without proper environmental review.

MG, KVCR News.

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