Environmentalists Consider Lawsuit After Feds Approve Fracking Off California Coast

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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An environmental group is considering legal action after a pair of federal agencies concluded hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, off the coast of California doesn’t harm the environment.

The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) is considering more lawsuits to block offshore fracking in California and directly blames the Obama administration for the analysis.

“Fracking is a dangerous and inherently dirty practice that has no place in our oceans,” Miyoko Sakashita, director of CBDs oceans program, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “It seems absurd that the federal government couldn’t find a problem with the process. It is a road to deepening our climate crisis.We’re having a closer look at the documents and are taking litigation into consideration.”

Findings published Friday by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement overturned a legal settlement between CBD and the Obama administration to halt offshore fracking. The settlement prevented any new offshore fracking permits from being issued in California until the agencies could perform an analysis of the potential environmental impacts of offshore fracking.

“The comprehensive analysis shows that these practices, conducted according to permit requirements, have minimal impact,” Abigail Ross Hopper, director of the BOEM, said in a statement Monday.

The agency’s analysis is a huge defeat for CBD, as the legal settlement was so favorable to it that it even forced the federal agencies to use tax dollars to pay for the environmental group’s $8,826.65 legal fees, according to court filings disclosed on group’s website. CBD disagrees with the new analysis’ conclusions, and still claims that chemicals used in fracking harm marine life.

The agency’s environmental assessment looked at both fracking and the impacts from waste-water that is disposed of in the process. The agencies examined fracking on 23 oil and gas platforms off California’s coast between 1982 and 2014 to reach the conclusion that fracking isn’t damaging the enviroment.

In fact, there’s ample evidence that fracking is actually helping the enviroment by reducing the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions linked to global warming. America’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have fallen 12 percent since 2005, due to fracking, according to a report published earlier this month by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The cheap and plentiful natural gas produced by fracking is rapidly out-competing more CO2 intensive coal. Fracking has allowed natural gas to provide more of America’s electricity than coal for every month between July and October of last year, according to data released in December by the EIA. Natural gas accounted for 35 percent of all electricity generated between those months, while coal only accounted for 33.6 percent, as shown in calculations performed by TheDCNF.

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