The group, the
Center for Biological Diversity, in a lawsuit filed in U.S.
District Court in Los Angeles, had challenged what it said was
the U.S. Department of the Interior's practice of
rubber-stamping fracking off California's coast without engaging
the public or analyzing fracking's threats to ocean ecosystems,
coastal communities and marine life.
The settlement reached on Friday prohibits officials from
authorizing fracking practices in federal waters until the
Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and
Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement complete an
environmental review, the Center for Biological Diversity said.
The pause, however, will not likely affect production at large
because California has not been producing much offshore oil
Oil companies have fracked at least 200 wells in Long Beach,
Seal Beach, Huntington Beach and in the wildlife-rich Santa
Barbara Channel, the Center for Biological Diversity said.
The settlement could potentially affect oversight of all
federally permitted offshore fracking, including fracking in the
U.S. Gulf of Mexico, the group said.
The U.S. Department of the Interior could not be reached
immediately for comment.
(Reporting by Anet Josline Pinto in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie
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