Energy, Environmental Permitting

DOI Bureaus Hit with Suit over Fracking Permits

Two environmental groups have filed a suit in a U.S. District Court against the Department of the Interior (DOI) for allegedly failing to comply with federal law regarding the impact of hydraulic fracturing and acidizing being conducted at oil production platforms in California’s Santa Barbara Channel.

The Environmental Defense Center (EDC) and Santa Barbara Channelkeeper assert that DOI’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BOEM/BSEE) did not meet their obligations under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when approving more than 50 permits allowing offshore fracking and acidizing.

Currently, there are 23 offshore oil production platforms in the Santa Barbara Channel. In a 2013 report, the EDC said fracking had been occurring at these facilities for more than 20 years, although federal and state regulators had been largely unaware of the practice until 2013. The Santa Barbara Channel contains the critical habitat of many species listed as threatened or endangered under the ESA.

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