Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Obama Administration Approved Gulf Fracking During Deepwater Horizon Disaster


Hydraulic fracturing (or "fracking") technology has been widely used to maximize oil-and-gas production in the Gulf of Mexico in recent years, and the government allows offshore drillers to dump fracking chemicals mixed with wastewater directly into the Gulf, according to documents released to Truthout and the Center for Biological Diversity under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

From 2010 to October 2014, the Obama administration approved more than 1,500 permit applications for offshore drilling plans that included fracking at hundreds of wells across the Gulf of Mexico, according to the documents. An unknown number of permit applications have yet to be released, so the scope of offshore fracking in the Gulf is likely larger.

During this time regulators issued more than 300 "categorical exclusions" to exempt drilling plans that included fracking from complex environmental reviews. The use of categorical exclusions has been under heavy scrutiny since 2010, when the media learned that BP's drilling plan for the Deepwater Horizon rig was categorically excluded from review in the months before a deadly explosion on the platform caused the worst oil spill in United States history.

Federal records show that regulators approved several drilling plans involving fracking in the Gulf of Mexico even as the Deepwater Horizon disaster unfolded and oil from a broken well spewed into the Gulf for weeks on end.

"The Deepwater Horizon disaster should have been a wake up call that we need to move away from offshore drilling," said Kristen Monsell, an attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, in an interview with Truthout. "But now the federal government is rubber-stamping practices like fracking without doing any environmental review or notifying the public, and it's just another disaster waiting to happen."http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/36556-obama-administration-approved-gulf-fracking-during-deepwater-horizon-disaster

[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, June 29th, 2016.]

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