Thursday, March 22, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 3

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on December 14th, 2016, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 17, Issue 41 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 17, Issue 41

Offshore fracking could ramp up again in Santa Barbara Channel


Hydraulic fracturing may resume in the Santa Barbara Channel for the first time since federal agencies lifted a moratorium on offshore fracking in May.

Oil company DCOR completed an application on Dec. 6 to frack from Platform Gilda in the channel for a period of 30 days, starting on Sept. 1, 2017. As of press time, the federal agency responsible for green-lighting offshore oil drilling operations hadn’t yet approved DCOR’s application—but Kristen Monsell, staff attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, said the agency has tended to “rubber-stamp” such applications in the past.

“Given their track record of rubber-stamping permits to drill, including permits to use fracking in the Santa Barbara Channel, it’s likely that they would approve this permit without doing further environmental review, which is hugely concerning,” Monsell told the Sun.

The previous moratorium on offshore fracking came when the Center for Biological Diversity sued federal agencies for approving offshore oil and gas extraction projects without substantial environmental review. The following environmental analysis gave the OK to offshore drilling processes and ended the temporary ban.

“The analysis is entirely cursory, and oftentimes just kicks the can down the road in terms of doing any in-depth analysis,” Monsell said.

She added that if DCOR’s application is approved, it could spark a resurgence in offshore fracking before more extensive environmental analysis is conducted.

“We will be under the Trump administration very soon, and approval of this permit could encourage other oil companies to submit similar applications,” she said. “We could see a dangerous new wave of dirty dangerous offshore fracking being permitted up and down the coast.”

Weekly Poll
What do you think is the most important issue affecting the Central Coast this election year?

Recreational cannabis regulations.
Immigration and sanctuary cities.
Public safety.
Environmental protection and conservation.

| Poll Results