Two Interior Dept. bureaus have concluded that oil and gas well-stimulation techniques, including hydraulic fracturing, off the coast of California do not pose a significant environmental risk.
The findings, released on May 27, mean that offshore California drilling for oil and gas can resume. Drilling was halted in January because of a Center for Biological Diversity lawsuit. The group says it sued because of the “rubber-stamping” of permits for fracking without sufficient environmental review.
In a joint assessment, the two Interior agencies analyzed various well-stimulation techniques on the 23 oil and gas platforms in use on the Outer Continental Shelf and found no significant environmental impact. The agencies noted that accidental spills could have a minor impact but said the probability of an accident occurring is relatively low.
Alexandra Nagy, Food & Water Watch’s Southern California organizer, disputes the findings. She says they could pave the way for more offshore fracking in other coastal areas of California.