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  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u Aug 9, 2013 1:36 AM Flag

    California lawmakers seek probe of hydraulic fracturing offshore

    California lawmakers seek probe of hydraulic fracturing offshore

    August 8, 2013 at 6:32 pm by Associated Press

    LOS ANGELES — A group of state lawmakers has asked the federal government to investigate hydraulic fracturing off the California coast where new oil leases have been banned since a disastrous oil spill in 1969.

    Fracturing has occurred in the Santa Barbara Channel at least 12 times since the late 1990s, and regulators earlier this year approved a new project, according to a recent report by The Associated Press, which obtained well permits and internal emails through the Freedom of Information Act.

    The extent of hydraulic fracturing in the Pacific causes “extreme concern,” state lawmakers led by Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, said in the letter this week.

    Unlike fracturing on land, which has spurred efforts to prohibit or curtail the practice, hydraulic fracturing in federal waters is less common and has not received the same attention.

    Offshore jobs, which are typically smaller than ones done onshore, involves the pumping of hundreds of thousands of gallons of salt water, sand and a mixture of chemicals beneath the seabed. Most of the efforts to date have yielded mixed success in increasing oil production.

    Federal environmental regulators so far have exempted fracturing fluids from the nation’s clean water laws, allowing companies to flush treated discharges into the sea without a separate environmental review, the AP found.

    The California Coastal Commission said it had no idea until recently that ocean fracturing was even happening and planned to ask oil companies in the future whether they intend to frack. Since the work occurs in federal waters, oversight falls to agencies in the Interior Department. But state coastal regulators say they have a say if an offshore project affects water quality.

    The oil industry insists hydraulic fracturing is safe and does not harm the environment.

    Despite the assurances, state lawmakers said they wa

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