Below is the letter Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) to the Cailfornia Coastal Commission
August 14, 2013
Ms. Mary Shallenberger, Chair
California Coastal Commission
45 Fremont Street, Suite 2000
San Francisco, CA 94105-2219
Dear Chair Shallenberger:
I respectfully request that the Coastal Commission exercise its authority to re-evaluate previously approved permits for oil and gas extraction activities taking place off our coast due to the prevalence of hydraulic fracturing and other well stimulation activities that are a complete deviation from the original intended land use for which the original permit was granted.
Like all oil and gas extraction activities, hydraulic fracturing and other similar well stimulation activities poses significant public health and safety and environmental risks if not properly reviewed and regulated. As you are aware, hydraulic fracturing and well stimulation activities inject fluids and other substances under high pressure in order to manipulate underground geological formations to facilitate the extraction oil and gas reserves. These new technologies and chemical compositions differ greatly from the process and materials used in previous decades that were originally authorized for oil and gas extraction by the Commission.
Unlike mainstream oil and gas extraction activities, onshore hydraulic fracturing and similar well stimulation activities are completely unregulated by the Department of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources. This completely unregulated environment led me to introduce AB 1301, which seeks to impose a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing and other well stimulation operations until protections from the known inherent risks associated with hydraulic fracturing operations are developed. There is even greater uncertainty surrounding the impacts of offshore hydraulic fracturing and other similar operations. For this reason, it is essential that these impacts be fully analyzed to understand its effects on water quality, beach access, wetlands, land and sea wildlife, scenic vistas, and coastal tourism.
The federal Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) gives the Coastal Commission the authority to review all federal activities and federal licensed, permitted, or assisted activities if the activity has the potential to affect coastal resources. If the Coastal Commission finds that there could be a negative impact on our coast, it has the authority to assert its jurisdiction and potentially prevent the federal agency from issuing the consistency permit.
Given what we know about the proven and potential impacts of fracking fluids, we believe there is cause to conclude that fracking constitutes a change in type and intensity of use that should trigger permit review in state waters, and federal consistency review in federal waters.
For these reasons, I respectfully request that the Coastal Commission exercise its authority to re-evaluate the previously approved permits for consistency, review all of the potential impacts, including human health and safety, marine life and water quality, and exercise its existing jurisdiction to review all future offshore applications and activities involving hydraulic fracturing or other similar well stimulation operations.
As a recent member of the Commission, I am keenly aware of the hard and time consuming work you do. Fracking in California is an issue of extraordinary importance to our irreplaceable coastline and I greatly appreciate your willingness to consider its implications under the Coastal Act. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
RICHARD BLOOM, Chair
Assembly Budget Subcommittee #3 on Resources and Transportation
Assemblyman, 50th District