Anti-fracking activists wearing hazmat suits and carrying signs depicting dolphins and sea turtles rallied in Long Beach today to ask the California Coastal Commission to end the controversial oil extraction method off the coast.
Fracking, short for hydraulic fracturing, is the practice of injecting wells with a high-pressure solution to crack geologic structures to free oil and natural gas and force residual oil deposits to the surface.
Critics say fracking can contaminate groundwater supplies and cause other environmental problems.
The protest took place at Long Beach City Hall, where the California Coastal Commission is meeting through Thursday. While fracking is not on the commission's agenda, activists with the Center for Biological Diversity planned to speak during public comment.
"It's a toxic and dangerous practice and it poses a serious threat to our air, health, water, climate and ecosystem," said Hillary Aidun of the Center for Biological Diversity.
Activists, including Aidun, say more than 200 wells have been fracked off California's coast, which endangers marine life.
"We can't allow an increased risk of some kind of accident like the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill to be taking place off the coast," Aidun said.
State law requires regulations to be developed to govern fracking by next year.
Previously, Coastal Commission staff members have said the commission is exploring whether any regulations on fracking apply to offshore drilling, according to the Long Beach Press-Telegram.
--City News Service