Calif. sees more fracking in offshore oil drilling than state officials believed, records show

October 19, 2013

The oil production technique known as fracking is more widespread and frequently used in the offshore platforms and man-made islands near some of California’s most populous and famous coastal communities than state officials believed.

In waters off Long Beach, Seal Beach and Huntington Beach — some of the region’s most popular surfing strands and tourist draws — oil companies have used fracking at least 203 times at six sites in the past two decades, according to interviews and drilling records obtained by the Associated Press through a public records request.

Just this year in Long Beach Harbor, the nation’s second-largest container port, an oil company with exclusive rights to drill there completed five fracks on palm tree-lined, man-made islands. Other companies fracked more than a dozen times from old oil platforms off Huntington Beach and Seal Beach over the past five years.

Though there is no evidence that offshore hydraulic fracturing has led to any spills or chemical leaks, the practice occurs with little state or federal oversight of the operations. The state oil permitting agency said it doesn’t track fracking.

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