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latest news 9th Circuit Court blocks fracking permits off the California coast

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

The decision prevents the Department of the Interior and other federal agencies from issuing permits for “well stimulation” by hydraulic fracturing until a full environmental impact statement is issued “rather than the inadequacy [environmental assessment] on which they relied.

“Today’s decision is a victory for our communities, our environment and the rule of law,” California Atty said. General Rob Bonta said in a press release. “Offshore drilling – especially fracking – is polluting our waterways, damaging our environment and exacerbating climate change. We saw the risks of offshore drilling firsthand with the Huntington Beach oil spill last year. last, and we see it every day in the form of the climate crisis.

Kristen Monsell, legal director of the oceans program at the Center for Biological Diversity, called the decision “an incredible victory for California’s coast and marine life.”

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

The decision stems from a 2016 lawsuit filed by the state, the California Coastal Commission and environmental groups alleging that “federal agencies violated environmental laws when they authorized unconventional oil drilling methods on offshore platforms. offshore forms in the Pacific outer continental shelf off California”. according to court records.

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

“Environmental groups have learned through Freedom of Information Act requests that U.S. Department of the Interior agencies have authorized permits for offshore well stimulation treatments without first conducting the normally required environmental review” , indicates the judgment.

Federal agencies “failed to take the critical eye required” by the National Environmental Policy Act when issuing their environmental assessment, the 9th Circuit committee wrote.

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