9th Circuit Court blocks permits for fracking off California coast

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday blocked mining off the California coast, ruling that the federal government must complete a full environmental review before approving permits for the rigs. such offshore oil.

The decision prevents the Interior Department and other federal agencies from issuing permits for “well excitation” through hydraulic fracturing until a complete environmental impact statement is issued “instead of insufficient [environmental assessment] on which they relied. “

“Today’s decision is a victory for our community, our environment and the rule of law,” said California Atty. General Rob Bonta said in a press release. “Offshore drilling – especially fracturing – pollutes our waterways, damages our environment and exacerbates climate change. We’ve seen first-hand the risks of offshore drilling with the Huntington Beach spill last year, and we see it every day in the form of the climate crisis.”

Kristen Monsell, the ocean program legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity, called the ruling an “incredible victory for California’s coastlines and marine life.”

“This decision will prevent many toxic chemicals from poisoning fish, sea otters and other marine life. And it brings us one step closer to ending offshore drilling once and for all,” said Monsell.

The decision stems from a 2016 lawsuit brought by the state, the California Coastal Commission, and environmental groups alleging that “federal agencies violated environmental law when they authorized drilling methods to non-conventional oil on offshore rigs on the Pacific Continental Shelf off the coast of California,” according to court documents.

The plaintiffs argue that environmental assessments of fracking conducted by federal agencies, including the Department of the Interior, are inadequate and incomplete.

“Environmental groups passed a Freedom of Information Act requiring agencies in the U.S. Department of the Interior that have authorized offshore well stimulation treatments without conducting a routine environmental assessment. first,” the ruling said.

Federal agencies “failed to comply with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act when issuing their environmental assessments,” 9 Circuit’s panel wrote.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-06-03/9th-circuit-court-blocks-fracking-permits-california-coast 9th Circuit Court blocks permits for fracking off California coast

Edmund DeMarche

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