Ocean fracking should be no surprise

(Edited version of article by Dan Bacher, crossposted from Daily Kos and Fishsniffer.com). The California Coastal Commission, under intense pressure from legislators and environmental activists, pledged Thursday, August 15 at its meeting in Santa Cruz to investigate reports of fracking (hydraulic fracturing) for oil in ocean waters in the Santa Barbara Channel.

“Blindsided by revelations of fracking in waters off the coast of California, the state’s Coastal Commission on Thursday vowed an investigation into the controversial practice, including what powers the agency has to regulate it, “ according to Jason Hoppin, Santa Cruz Sentinel reporter.

“We do not yet understand the extent of fracking in federal or state waters, nor fully understand its risks,” said Coastal Commission Deputy Director Allison Dettmer, who will lead the investigation.

“Blindsided” by “relevations” of fracking? How can that be possible when the Coastal Commission, Fish and Game Commission and other state regulators failed to question the leadership role of a big oil lobbyist, nicknamed the “Petro Princess” by anti-fracking activists, in the corrupt Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative to create alleged “marine protected areas?”

State officials and representatives of corporate “environmental” NGOs shamelessly embraced Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), as a “marine guardian.”

Reheis-Boyd, who lobbies relentlessly for increased fracking in California, the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline and the evisceration of environmental laws, served as the CHAIR of the MLPA Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create so-called “marine protected areas” in Southern California. She also served on the MLPA task forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast.

She oversaw the creation of questionable “marine protected areas” that fail to protect the ocean from fracking and oil drilling, pollution, military testing, wind and wave energy projects and all human impacts on the ocean other than fishing and gathering.

“We take our obligation to protect the marine environment very seriously and we will be looking at this very carefully,” claimed Charles Lester, executive director of the Coastal Commission.

If the Commission wants to really show that they take their obligation “very seriously,” they should include in their fracking investigation a probe of Reheis-Boyd’s role in creating so-called “marine reserves” that fail to protect the ocean from fracking, oil drilling, pollution and all other human impacts on our coastal waters than sustainable fishing and gathering.

Burdick’s concerns over the push by the oil industry and others to industrialize the California coast were echoed by environmentalists including Judith Vidaver, then Chair of the Ocean Protection Coalition (OPC). (http://yubanet.com/california/Dan-Bacher-Environmental-Leader-Calls-For-MLPA-Official-s-Resignation.php)

“For over 25 years OPC, with our fisher and seaweed harvester allies, has protected our ocean from threats such as aquaculture projects, nuclear waste dumping, offshore oil development and recently, wave power plants,” Vidaver stated. “We are requesting that final Marine Protected Area (MPA) designations include language prohibiting these industrial-scale commercial activities.”

“Oil and water do not mix—as we are being reminded daily by the disaster spewing in the Gulf,” she stated. “Mrs. Reheis-Boyd’s position as President of the Western States Petroleum Association and her lobbying efforts to expand offshore oil drilling off the coast of California are a patent conflict of interest for which she should recuse herself from the BRTF proceedings which are ostensibly meant to protect the marine ecosystem.”

What Is Fracking and Why Should It Be Banned? (from Food and Water Watch website: http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/water/fracking/)

“Fracking is short for hydraulic fracturing. It’s a water-intensive process where millions of gallons of fluid – typically water, sand, and chemicals, including ones known to cause cancer – are injected underground at high pressure to fracture the rock surrounding an oil or gas well. This releases extra oil and gas from the rock, so it can flow into the well.

But the process of fracking introduces additional industrial activity into communities beyond the well. Clearing land to build new access roads and new well sites, drilling and encasing the well, fracking the well and generating the waste, trucking in heavy equipment and materials and trucking out the vast amounts of toxic waste — all of these steps contribute to air and water pollution risks and devaluation of land that is turning our communities into sacrifice zones. Fracking threatens the air we breathe, the water we drink, the communities we love and the climate on which we all depend. That’s why over 250 communities in the U.S. have passed resolutions to stop fracking, and why Vermont, France and Bulgaria have stopped it.”

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