Thursday, November 20, 2014     Volume: 15, Issue: 37
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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on November 25th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 38 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 38

Political Watch 11/28/13

• The Surfrider Foundation, Wildcoast, and Environmental California launched a campaign on Nov. 21 to encourage citizen engagement with the California Coastal Commission. The campaign will monitor and report on recent and pending actions before the Coastal Commission and will publish a monthly scorecard as well as an annual vote chart through ActCoastal.org. A press release sent out by the campaign said ActCoastal’s goal is to empower millions of Californians who support coastal protection and to get them to engage effectively with the commission so they have a voice in decisions that effect the future of the state. “The commission manages some of the most valued and visited coastline on the planet. ActCoastal hopes to shed light on how commission votes directly impact coastal resources, public access, and can set statewide precedent,” Stefanie Sekich-Quinn of the Surfrider Foundation said in the press release.

• U.S. Rep. Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) is asking the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management work together and conduct a comprehensive study of offshore hydraulic fracturing activities. She wrote a letter on Nov. 19 addressed to the Department of the Interior and the EPA requesting that the agencies place a moratorium on offshore fracking until the study can be conducted. The letter was Capps’ response to a report recently released by the Environmental Defense Center that revealed at least 15 instances of hydraulic fracturing have taken place off the coast of California in the last 20 years. In her letter, Capps stated that several of those fracs were approved within the last year. “These activities have been approved with overly broad and outdated plans that do not properly account for or assess these activities,” she wrote in the letter. The Environmental Defense Center report, “Dirty Water: Fracking Offshore California,” was put together based on federal records the organization said it received through Freedom of Information Act requests. Capps’ senior legislative assistant Aaron Shapiro told the Sun that it was news to many legislators as well as some regulatory agencies that fracs were happening offshore. “No one had any idea that this is going on, it seems like a lot of people were surprised,” Shapiro said. “It seems like there’s a lot more questions than answers.” A statement released by Capps’ office said she’s been pushing federal regulators for information on the issue for months. “I have been seriously concerned about offshore fracking since reports first brought it to light,” Capps said in the release. “While we still know little about the impacts of onshore fracking, we know even less about impacts of offshore fracking. The inadequate oversight of these activities is unacceptable.”