Capps Statement on Joint Agency Assessment on Impact of Well Stimulation Treatments in California

(WASHINGTON) Today, Rep. Lois Capps (CA-24) released a statement regarding the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM)’s environmental assessment evaluating the potential impacts from the use of well stimulation treatments on the 23 oil and gas platforms currently in operation on the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf (POCS):

“Today’s announcement by BOEM and BSEE that their final Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) found no significant impacts associated with continuing to allow offshore well stimulation techniques, including hydraulic fracturing, on the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf, is incredibly concerning. In their analysis, BSEE and BOEM acknowledge that well stimulation activities pose risks to the marine environment, including risks to sea turtles and marine mammals. And they acknowledge that accidents caused by well stimulation are “reasonably foreseeable.” Given our experience on the Central Coast, it is safe to say that it is not a matter of if these accidents will occur, but when.

“The PEA seems to discount such concerns by saying that despite these real risks, we should not be concerned because other rules and regulations will keep this type of activity limited. But there are no guarantees that these protections will remain. Moreover, they claim that risks from the chemicals used in these processes are low given the dilution of the chemicals. This statement reminds me of the mantra, “the solution to pollution is dilution.” This philosophy has long been discredited. We must stop using the ocean as a dumping ground and putting the environment and our coastal communities at risk.

“With over 10,000 public comments submitted to the process, including approximately 75 substantive letters, this is clearly an important issue to local stakeholders along the Central Coast. This type of interest warrants a full environmental impact statement and record of decision—one of the options in the underlying settlement—to provide for a more in-depth analysis of the risks. BSEE and BOEM decided against this option. I will continue working with members of our community to do all we can to keep our shores safe and refocus our nation’s efforts to move toward the green energy technologies of the future.”

Rep. Capps introduced the Offshore Fracking Transparency and Review Act in April 2015, which would institute a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing or acid well stimulation treatment in the POCS until the Secretary of the Interior issues a final environmental impact statement. The legislation has been referred to the House Natural Resources Committee where it awaits further consideration.

A link to the BOEM/BSEE assessment can be found here.


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