US To Stop Approving Hydraulic Fracturing off California Coast Until After Review
The US federal government has agreed to stop approving hydraulic fracturing off the California coast until it studies whether the practice is safe for the environment, according to legal settlements filed 29 January.
Separate deals reached with a pair of environmental organizations require the Department of the Interior to review whether well techniques such as hydraulic fracturing or using acid to stimulate offshore well production threatens water quality and marine life.
The practices have been conducted for years in federal waters and were revealed when the Environmental Defense Center filed Freedom of Information Act requests, the organizations said.
“These practices are currently being conducted under decades-old plans with out-of-date or nonexistent environmental analysis,” said Brian Segee, an attorney for the Environmental Defense Center.
The agreements in Los Angeles federal court apply to operations off Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, where companies such as ExxonMobil operate platforms.
Federal agencies will have to complete the review by the end of May and determine if a more in-depth analysis is necessary. They will also have to make future permit applications publicly accessible.