US Approves Fracking California’s Santa Barbara Channel

The ECOreport reposts an OP-ED: US Approves Fracking California’s Santa Barbara Channel

Originally Published on the Daily KOS & Indybay.com

By Dan Bacher

Claiming that fracking poses “no significant impact” to the environment, Obama administration officials on May 27 finalized their plans to allow oil companies to resume offshore fracking and acidizing in California’s Santa Barbara Channel.

US Approves Fracking California’s Santa Barbara Channel

The announcement from the two agencies responsible for oil drilling, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Management (BOEM) and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), ended a court-ordered settlement placing a moratorium on offshore fracking and acidizing for oil in the fish and wildlife-rich federal waters off California.

The two agencies reported they have completed a comprehensive environmental analysis evaluating the potential impacts from the use of “well stimulation treatments” – acidizing and fracking operations — on the 23 oil and gas platforms currently in operation on the Outer Continental Shelf offshore California.

Finding of No Significant Impact

Based on the analysis in this joint Programmatic Environmental Assessment (EA), BSEE and BOEM issued a “Finding of No Significant Impact” (FONSI) from the use of specific well stimulation treatments in oil and gas activities on the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), according to a joint statement from the two agencies.

The agencies wrote in their FONSI, “Overall, most resources will not be impacted or impacts will be negligible. In some cases where impacts are somewhat more pronounced, such as with discharge of produced water, the impacts are minor, short-term and localized.”

“Drawing on the best available science, the EA provides information and analysis on the use of well stimulation treatments in federal waters offshore California,” said BOEM Director Abigail Ross Hopper. “The comprehensive analysis shows that these practices, conducted according to permit requirements, have minimal impact.”

Likewise, BSEE Director Brian Salerno, said, “BSEE is fully committed to safeguarding the environment. Anyone familiar with our regulations understands that they not only address worker and operational safety, but also require the industry to function as environmental stewards. We consider vigorous environmental enforcement central to the Bureau’s mission.”

The EA and the FONSI are available for viewing at pocswellstim.evs.anl.gov.

Centre For Biological Diversity May Sue

Miyoko Sakashita, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Oceans program, vigorously disagreed with the agencies’ finding of “no significant impact” — and warned they may file new litigation to halt offshore fracking.

“The Obama administration is once again putting California’s beautiful coast in the oil industry’s crosshairs,” said Sakashita. “Our beaches and wildlife face a renewed threat from fracking chemicals and oil spills. New legal action may be the only way to get federal officials to do their jobs and protect our ocean from offshore fracking.”

Sakashita said offshore fracking was halted in January after a Center lawsuit challenged what they described as the federal government’s “rubber-stamping “of fracking permits without any analysis of threats to wildlife and ocean ecosystems.

According to Sakashita, the case resulted in a settlement agreement that required the Obama administration to stop authorizing offshore fracking and acidizing until federal officials completed a review of the environmental impacts of the practices, required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

“But today’s finding that offshore fracking has no significant environmental impact glosses over the serious hazards of fracking and fails to answer key questions about the risks of this controversial oil-extraction technique,” she said.

Offshore fracking blasts vast volumes of water mixed with toxic chemicals beneath the seafloor at pressures high enough to fracture rocks. “At least 10 fracking chemicals routinely 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,” she noted.

“It’s disturbing that officials charged with protecting our oceans are shrugging off these risks and authorizing oil companies to resume this dangerous practice. The California coast can’t take another oil spill or a deluge of toxic fracking chemicals,” Sakashita said.

Doubled Down On Fracking

Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food and Water Watch, said the Obama administration appears to be “doubling down on fracking, instead of providing climate leadership and protecting our communities and our environment.”

She said this move paves the way for offshore fracking permits that were previously frozen and the dumping of toxic wastewater directly into the Pacific Ocean where Californians swim, fish, and surf.

“It’s clear that Americans want an inspiring new vision for our energy system, with more than half opposed to fracking in recent polling. The president continues to indicate that he is not the person to fulfill that vision. It’s a vision that can only be achieved by keeping fossil fuels in the ground and moving swiftly to a system driven by energy efficiency and renewables,” she said.

Fracked California Coast +200 Times

A Freedom of Information Act and Associated Press investigation in 2013 revealed that oil companies had conducted fracking operations over 200 times off the Southern California Coast over a 20 year period. Ironically, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), chaired the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create so-called “marine protected areas” in Southern California at the same time that oil companies were fracking off the coast. (http://www.dfg.ca.gov/mlpa/brtf_bios_sc.asp(
The “marine protected areas” created under her leadership fail to protect the ocean from fracking, acidizing, other offshore oil drilling, pollution, military testing, corporate aquaculture and all human impacts on the ocean other than sustainable fishing and gathering.

Leaders of fishing groups, Tribes and grassroots environmental organizations called for the full enforcement of the Marine Life Protection Act of 1999, including bans on oil drilling and pollution in marine protected areas. However, state officials and MLPA Initiative advocates supported only banning or restricting fishing and gathering in these faux MPAs, in violation of the law.

As the late Zeke Grader, the long-time Executive Director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (PCFFA), told me in 2014, “If these are true marine protected areas, they why are we allowing drilling and other insults to the ocean in them? The whole MLPA Initiative was a phony process that provided an opportunity for Big Green and government bureaucrats to write press releases claiming these were ‘protected areas’ when in reality the fishermen and Tribes got screwed. We should have bans on oil drilling in all of the marine protected areas.”

Unless new litigation by environmental groups is successful, fracking and acidizing will resume off the California coast — and these unprotected “marine protected areas” may be fouled by fracking wastewater discharges or a big oil spill resulting from an accident off one of these offshore oil rigs.

Photo Credit: A foggy day on the Santa Barbara Channel by Glenn Beltz via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)

49 thoughts on “US Approves Fracking California’s Santa Barbara Channel”

        1. Yes..Senator Bernie Sandera is not bought and sold to big money….and big corporation.
          He does not owe favors to Wallstreet, Big Pharma and Fracking and Big oil companies.
          He has not sold himself to the highest bidder.
          His loyalties are only to the People!!

          1. Only a retard would believe your statement. He sold himself to Hilary and bought his new 650 thousand dollar home.

    1. Quit using all petroleum based products and any products that were transported using petroleum. If there is no demand for a product, the producers won’t drill for it.

      1. Yes!! Boycott all oil based products!
        Consider buying hemp made products
        Which is much more friendly to our environment….on so many levels!

    2. Until we power our world with a different fuel this will continue to happen, here, there and everywhere. Energy from Thorium is the answer. Lessons have been learned, we know what we don’t want. We know what we do want. Safe, clean, cheap. Technology advances and with it there are better ways now to do things. Open your minds, don’t look at how we used to do things, look at how we can do things, better than before, safer than before, cleaner than before. Thorium. ……or we can, we will live with our past mistakes, and pass them on to the next generation to endure as well. We have the technology to change!

      1. Thorium is one of several solutions available. But we have to grow up first. Move from an Exploitation Economy to Sustainable and Local.

  1. The rest of the U.S. fracking industry in the tank and they approve off shore here? they can’t even contain spills on shore.

  2. It took Julia Butterfly living in an ancient redwood for 2 years to keep it from being cut down…she had a dedicated team sustaining her

    Vote for Bernie

  3. The non-serious impact will mean dead whales and other wildlife, poisoning of any remaining undergrond water channels, and weakening of the core offshore shelf. But that’s not serious compared to how much will be gained for some.

  4. How is it possible that the President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), chaired the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force?
    Who would believe for an instant that anything honest came from that task force?

    This whole deal smacks of corruption!

  5. If we stop all fracking today the price of natural gas will triple and gasoline will go to $5 a gal or more. Coal will become cost effective and it’s use will increase for electrical generation. We will import more oil from the Middle East and that makes us more dependent on the politics in that area of the globe. I hate fracking as much as anyone but we have to replace fossil fuels with renewable fuel in a big way if we are going to stop fracking, and pipelines, and drilling. Renewable fuel, lots of it, is the answer

    1. If the price goes up…. There is a even greater incentive to develop and switch over to alternative energy sources.

    2. At least one person is thinking straight. Nothing comes comes 4 free. Not too many CA’ns would turn off their AC, have smaller fridges, or reduce energy consumption.

    3. http://www.crapo.senate.gov/media/newsreleases/release_full.cfm?id=362892 Until we power our world with a different fuel this will continue to happen, here, there and everywhere. Energy from Thorium is the answer. Lessons have been learned, we know what we don’t want. We know what we do want. Safe, clean, cheap. Technology advances and with it there are better ways now to do things. Open your minds, don’t look at how we used to do things, look at how we can do things, better than before, safer than before, cleaner than before. Thorium. ……or we can, we will live with our past mistakes, and pass them on to the next generation to endure as well. We have the technology to change!

    4. Um, no, there will be increased solar and wind energy use, as there is in Germany and elsewhere. Scotland outlawed fracking, we don’t need it, either.

    5. We can’t recycle that water after it is used for Fracking! It is forever toxic!! P.o.i.s.o.n.e.d
      It takes mega amounts of water to Frack.
      It poisons underwater Aquifies…it poisons our oceans and all it’s inhabitants.
      We must find alternative energy sources.
      Solar power, wind power, water power,
      Anything but Fracking!!
      It is not good for the children of this earth or any other living creature.

    6. They quit making Saturns because they couldn’t make enough money to suit them. The Aura Hybrid was awesome when I test drove it. I got 42 miles to the gallon at 25,40,60,70 mph. At 55mph, I got 52-53mph. The batteries have to be replace every 4 years but when the numbers manufactured go up – the price would go down. I refuse to buy a foreign car as I am retired UAW. I am currently buying foreign gas because I refuse to put money in Cheney’s, the Bushes, and the Koch brothers pockets. AND I get 80 more miles off a tank of gas on the Interstate with BP!! I’m also buying Clark and Citgo.

      Why isn’t anyone trying to figure out where all the trash comes from in the ocean??? My theory is that it’s from cruise ships dumping instead of taking it back to port. They keep building them bigger and bigger so they should build a retaining area for it and take it back and recycle all they an.

  6. Obamas Retards know damn good and well that fracturing the SOLID plates that the continent sets on will cause massive earth quakes and destroy the aquaphers. But then again, its patt of his GOAL. Obama wants to desyroy America and the ignoran greedy oil companies dont give a damn as long as they extract their pound of flesh via the publics pocket book.

    But then again, California is where 90% of the perverts and their supporters reside soooo maybe its Gods will. You know, like Sodom and Gomorrah.

    I guess you Moronic liberals need to keep voting for more Satanic liberals.

    1. “Tap” Tyrannical Asinine Paranoid,
      People like you should pray for some understanding of reality! Pray that god can deliver you from the scary hypothetical delusion you think is faith. Satan is in your heart & shows clearly that you are a lost soul spouting hatred & ignorance. You invoke Gods will as if it’s a weapon at your flawed reasoning’s disposal, but it’s you who will suffer Gods will for daring to judge your fellow man! Know your scripture & humble yourself sinner!

  7. Until we power our world with a different fuel this will continue to happen, here, there and everywhere. Energy from Thorium is the answer. Lessons have been learned, we know what we don’t want. We know what we do want. Safe, clean, cheap. Technology advances and with it there are better ways now to do things. Open your minds, don’t look at how we used to do things, look at how we can do things, better than before, safer than before, cleaner than before. Thorium. ……or we can, we will live with our past mistakes, and pass them on to the next generation to endure as well. We have the technology to change!

  8. Free energy technology exists in many forms and is bein g suppressed. R&D independents and patent holders have been bullied, even murdered, old patents (e.g. Tesla) scarfed up, or made secret by the military. Fortunately, the internet has made things so they shall not be kept secret for long. There’s cars that run on water (very littler water), dynamos that generate 5 or more times their required input, gravitational and magnetics, and resonant frequency sources, thats just the tip of the iceberg. (And if we collectively don;t stoop our dirty ways, icebergs could become a thing of the past).

  9. Well, LA in general is a filthy cesspool, so this will just make SB the same. Fuck clean water. NOBODY needs clean water. Except Nestle Corporation so they can sell it to people.

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