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Sunday, December 9, 2018

Judge halts further fracking off coast of Southern California until a full review is complete

"A federal judge ordered the Trump administration to stop issuing permits for offshore fracking in federal waters off the California coast."

Image Credit: Beck Diefenbach/AP

A federal judge puts a halt to the Trump administration’s push to expand oil off the cost of Southern California until a full review is completed. U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez of Los Angeles ruled that a review assessing the impact of fracking on endangered species and coastal resources must be done first.

“We just won a crucial victory in our lawsuit to stop offshore fracking!” the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) said in a tweet. “A federal judge ordered the Trump administration to stop issuing permits for offshore fracking in federal waters off the California coast.”

Gutierrez’s ruling came after three separate lawsuits brought by the state of California, CBD, the Environmental Defense Center and the Wishtoyo Foundation, according to the CBD release, were filed against the Obama administration when “plaintiffs learned via Freedom of Information Act requests that the federal government had been quietly issuing fracking permits to oil and gas companies,” EcoWatch reported.

The judge found fault in the Trump administration’s failure to get the fracking projects approved by both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as well as the California Coastal Commission, who is required to sign off on all offshore projects.

But like the Obama administration, the Trump administration said that offshore fracking has “no significant impact” on the environment.

But the CBD disagrees with this assessment citing that “the California Council on Science and Technology has identified some common fracking chemicals to be among the most toxic in the world to marine animals.”

“Endangered sea otters and other critters just won a reprieve from the Trump administration’s assault on our oceans for dirty oil,” Kristen Monsell, CBD Oceans Program legal director, said in a press release. “We plan to celebrate this great victory in the fight against climate change and dirty fossil fuels.”

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