Target: Gina McCarthy, EPA Administrator
Goal: Protect marine life by limiting the practice of fracking
Hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, presents risks to the environment, whether on land or offshore.Fracking involves pumping huge amounts of sand, water, and chemicals deep underground to release oil, produces hazardous wastewater, which is often mishandled and improperly disposed of, and poses the risk of well casing failure and spills, polluting our waters, and using up freshwater resources. Despite this, the EPA has failed to regulate the coastal waters off of California, threatening the wildlife species that live there as well as the aquatic environment that is their home. These unregulated practices must end to protect the vulnerable marine life and their threatened ecosystem.
Fracking has been occurring onshore in California for decades without full disclosure to the public or state regulatory agencies. Oil companies have fracked at least 200 wells in waters off Huntington Beach, Long Beach, and Seal Beach, as well as in federal waters in the Santa Barbara Channel. Recent reports show that offshore fracking has also been taking place in both California and federal waters, even in the state’s most biologically sensitive areas, for several years.
The California Coastal Commission was not notified of the fracking that has been taking place for years within its jurisdiction. The Commission, which is responsible for protecting California’s marine environment, issued no coastal development permits to allow it. Oil companies fracking in California waters have admitted to using at least ten toxic chemicals that have damaging effects on marine life. One chemical released during fracking, nonylphenol ethoxylate, is extremely toxic and has a long-withstanding effect on aquatic environments. This chemical has been used in at least sixteen fracking instances in California waters and has been known to bioaccumulate, or become dangerously concentrated in bodies of animals higher in the food chain, such as sea otters.
While the EPA has recently required oil companies to identify the toxic chemicals being dumped into oceans during fracking and acquire permits before fracking jobs, the new rule will only be beneficial if oil companies are honest in their reports to the EPA. These rulings will go into full effect in 2015 and only apply to new drilling jobs. This is a step in the right direction, but the practice of fracking is unnecessary and should be banned altogether. A trade-off of permanently damaging our environment and wildlife is not worth it.
Not only are the direct, more immediate effects of fracking impacting marine life and their aquatic environments, but fracking waste has also posed a threat to the ocean waters. The oil industry has federal permission to dump more than nine billion gallons of wastewater, including fluids from fracking, directly into California’s coastal oceans every year. These incredibly harmful chemicals can cause cancer and pose hazards to wildlife in the area such as blue, humpback and sperm whales, sea otters, sea turtles, and numerous protected and endangered birds and fish species.
Sign this petition to urge the EPA to impose strict regulations on offshore fracking to limit this toxic threat to the environment.
Dear Ms. McCarthy,
The process of fracking is hugely detrimental to the environment in several ways. Not only is our land being compromised when spills and mishaps occur during the process, but waste from fracking being dumped into our oceans is a very real concern.
Marine life cannot withstand the consequences of fracking, which include disease and loss of natural habitat, nor will the environment and people living nearby if the practice continues so carelessly. Please stop this imminent threat to our coastal waters, land, and life and take further steps to limit, if not eliminate, the practice of fracking.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Stan Shebs via Wikipedia