Two environmental groups in California, The Environmental Defense Center and the Center for Biological Diversity, filed separate lawsuits challenging federal fracking permits off the coast and won a moratorium until studies prove the practice is safe for the environment.
It is becoming more and more apparent that litigation is the sole method of protecting our environment, because trying to educate the polluters has generally proved fruitless. Corporations exist to make money and most of the polluters such as the petroleum industry care more for profits than the health of the people. Petitions, demonstrations, education and reasoning fail to achieve results.
Only when forced by the courts do these companies stop poisoning our earth. Sadly, the same is true for our water management districts and our Department of Environmental Protection, who slowly and continuously allow our aquifer to drop and our springs to dry up, all the while extolling their virtures, hard work and wise use of taxpayers’ money.
We have similar actions in Florida which directly affect our rivers and springs here in North Florida. Two separate lawsuits have been filed against misuse of Amendment 1 funds, one by the Florida Defender s of the Environment and another by Florida Wildlife Federation, the St. Johns Riverkeeper, the Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida and the Sierra Club.
Read on for the good news:
Feds agree to review of fracking for oil offshore
January 31, 2016
LOS ANGELES (AP) – The federal government has agreed to stop approving oil fracking off the California coast until it studies whether the practice is safe for the environment, according to legal settlements filed Friday.
Separate deals reached with a pair of environmental organizations require the Department of Interior to review whether well techniques such as using acid or hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, 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 organization 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“These practices are currently being conducted under decades-old plans with out-of-date or nonexistent environmental analysis,” said Brian Segee, an attorney for the Environmental Defense Center.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 Exxon Mobil Corp. 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.
A Department of Interior spokeswoman said the agency would comply with the agreement and is committed to safe offshore operations.
The American Petroleum Institute, which intervened in the cases as a defendant and did not agree to the settlement, issued a statement saying it did not think the environmental review was needed and did not think a permit moratorium was justified.
The Environmental Defense Center challenged 53 permits authorizing well stimulation at six offshore platforms. The group said use of chemicals such as acid to break up and dissolve rock poses risks at every stage of operation up through and including their discharge in the ocean.
The Center for Biological Diversity, which filed a separate lawsuit, said the government had rubber stamped permits without public input or analysis of the threat posed to creatures such as sea otters, fish and whales.
“Offshore fracking is a dirty and dangerous practice that has absolutely no place in our ocean,” said attorney Kristen Monsell. “The federal government certainly has no right to give the oil industry free rein to frack offshore at will.”
The settlement only applies to operations off the California coast but could have an impact on oversight of other offshore fracking in places such as the Gulf of Mexico, Monsell said.