The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit against the United States Interior Department on February 19, 2015, alleging the violation of three federal laws for oil and gas development offshore California. The results from the lawsuit could potentially affect the oversight of all offshore activity, including those in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Center cited several reasons behind its decision, including wastewater disposal, potential spills, harm to wildlife and the lack of an environmental review. The word “frack” was used 19 times in the 491 word release, while the word “drill” was not used once.
According to a news release filed by the Center: “The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in California, seeks to prohibit the federal government from issuing permits allowing fracking until it complies with the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and the Coastal Zone Management Act.”
Regulators Scrutinize Operations Every Day of the Year
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has completed 32 environmental studies on the Pacific region since 2008. A total of 43 producing leases are currently held in the region, with each lease generally about three miles long and three miles wide. The BOEM has several pages outlining the process of approving offshore development on its site, along with its protocol for inspection and review. According to the site, “Every day of the year, Bureau inspectors are offshore scrutinizing drilling and production operations to ensure that the operations are being conducted safely and that the environment is protected. These inspectors conduct unannounced inspections on each facility on a routine basis and inspect each facility offshore California at least once a week. Furthermore, there is an extensive annual inspection of each facility sometimes lasting 2-3 weeks, depending on the complexity of the facility.”
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