Trump Administration Sued for Failing to Release Gulf of Mexico Fracking Records Press Release by Biological Diversity, Oct 22, 2019
NEW ORLEANS— The Center for Biological Diversity sued the Trump administration today for failing to release public documents revealing the extent and risks of fracking of offshore oil and gas wells in the Gulf of Mexico.
Officials have stonewalled a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Center, which last year sued the administration for failing to study how offshore drilling impacts endangered marine life.
A similar lawsuit in 2015 compelled the release of public records that found the federal government permitted more than 1,600 fracks in the Gulf from 2010 to 2014. Fracking uses toxic chemicals that can harm loggerhead sea turtles and other imperiled marine life.
Federal records showed oil companies were allowed to dump more than 76 billion gallons of drilling waste water — including fracking chemicals — into the Gulf in 2014.
“Trump appointees are covering up the oil industry’s pollution of the Gulf with toxic fracking chemicals,” said Miyoko Sakashita, ocean program director at the Center. “We have a right to know how sea turtles, whales and other marine animals are being harmed by offshore drilling and fracking. The administration’s secretive fracking approvals have made offshore drilling even more dirty and dangerous. We need full disclosure on fracking’s threats to marine life, coastal communities and our climate.”
Federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico are where the vast majority of offshore drilling occurs in the United States.
The Trump administrations has quietly issued more than 1,700 waivers of offshore drilling safety rules adopted after the deadly 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in the Gulf.
At least 10 fracking chemicals routinely used in offshore fracking could kill or harm a broad variety of marine species, including marine mammals and fish, Center scientists have found. 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.
Discharging fracking chemicals into the Gulf raises grave ecological concerns because the Gulf provides important habitat for whales, sea turtles and fish — as well as being federally designated critical habitat for imperiled loggerhead sea turtles.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.