News of offshore fracking upsets lawmakers
August 15, 2013
Two California senators have told the California Coastal Commission that the practice of offshore tracking, which only recently has come to light, is “cause for grave concern.”
Offshore hydraulic fracturing — a method of extracting oil and natural gas — has been occurring off the Santa Barbara coastline.
Senators Hanna-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) and Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa), who represent coastal districts, told Mary Shallenberger, commission chair, in an Aug. 8 letter that many unanswered environmental questions still exist regarding onshore fracking.
The pair is asking additional studies of potentially negative impacts.
“There is even greater uncertainty regarding the impacts of offshore hydraulic fracking,” they wrote, adding, “We believe there is cause to conclude that fracking constitutes a change in the type and intensity of use that should trigger permit reviews in state waters, and federal constituency review in federal waters.”
The lawmakers said that enough is known about “proven and potential impacts of tracking fluids” to justify additional investigation.
In the fracking process, fluids are injected into the ground to break up rock formations and release oil and gas. It is controversial because of its potential effect on subterranean water supplies.