Alicia Chang, ASSOCIATED PRESS
The federal government has approved three new fracking jobs off the shores of California as state coastal regulators voiced concerns about potential environmental impacts.
The work in the Santa Barbara Channel, site of a 1969 oil platform blowout, has not yet begun and it was not immediately clear when it would.
The disclosure Wednesday came as the California Coastal Commission attempts to exercise greater oversight of the contested practice known as hydraulic fracturing, which involves pumping huge amounts of water, sand and chemicals deep into rock formations to free oil.
The environmental impacts of fracking and other well stimulation techniques "are not well understood. To date, little data has been collected," said Alison Dettmer, a commission deputy director.
The agency launched an investigation into the extent of offshore fracking after The Associated Press last year documented at least a dozen instances of companies using the technique since the 1990s in federal waters.
via Feds approve more fracking off California coast.
Richard Halstead, MARIN INDEPENDENT JOURNAL
Numerous constituents Wednesday urged Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael to rethink his opposition to a bill that would grant the California Coastal Commission the power to fine violators of the state’s Coastal Act.
Created by voter initiative in the 1970s, the commission’s mission is "to protect, conserve, restore, and enhance the environment of the California coastline."
Levine received the free advice during a public hearing that he convened "on protecting California’s coast," at the Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies in Tiburon. Before inviting public comments, Levine listened to presentations by three panels of experts. The panelists included Marin Supervisor Steve Kinsey, Coastal Commission executive director Charles Lester, leaders of environmental organizations who expressed admiration for the commission, and two lawyers who are currently involved in suits against the commission.
via Assemblyman Levine urged to reverse course on California Coastal Act – Marin Independent Journal.
John Howard, CAPITOL WEEKLY
Steve Blank, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who was viewed as a strong environmental voice on the California Coastal Commission, has resigned his position, saying that the commission’s role was weakened by the death of long-time executive director Peter Douglas, and other factors.
Blank, who was appointed in 2007 by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and later reappointed by Gov. Brown, said the commission has been successful in protecting the coast because “it took unpopular positions upsetting developers who have fought with the agency.” The key to the effectiveness of the commission and staff was their being "unreasonable" — uncompromising — in their desire to protect the coast, he said.
“For the last three decades, the Coastal Commission has protected the coast while miraculously managing to avoid regulatory capture,” he added in his June 27 resignation letter to Gov. Brown.
“Unfortunately, Peter Douglas is gone. Current commissioners, including your appointees want the commission to be reasonable. In fact, they want a new reasonable director,” he wrote.
In a separate interview, Blank said environmentalists were not following the commission as closely as in years past, there has been a series of pro-development commissioners and those who appoint commissioners have not selected aggressive coastal protectionists.
via Capitol Weekly: Coastal Commissioner Steve Blank resigns position.