Since 2015 there have been 381 documented instances of offshore oil and gas drilling companies violating the state of California’s regulations regarding the industry, according to the Associated Press.
The surprisingly big number is in official documents released to the Centre for Biological Diversity after it made a public records request to the state’s Department of Conservation (DOC).
Most of the violations related to ageing oil platforms and equipment, with corrosion a particular problem. There were also many instances of procedural deficiencies, most commonly a failure to comply with required five-yearly integrity tests – some cases showing gaps of more than 20 years between tests.
Green groups warn that the violations reflect a degree of neglect that could lead to oil spills and damage to shorelines and marine environments.
The worst culprit is the Golden State’s biggest oil and gas producer, California Resources Group and two of its subsidiaries, which between them racked up 290 of the 381 infringements.
State jurisdiction covers up to three miles offshore. Beyond that is considered federal waters and would include the proposed expansion of drilling area proposed by the administration of President Donald Trump.
Even though the list reflects violation notices issued by the DOC’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), no fines were imposed on any of the offenders. Environmentalists have long accused the regulators of being too soft on the industry.
The Centre for Biological Diversity is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to protecting endangered species through activism, the courts, innovative publicity campaigns and scientific petitions.
It is based in Tucson, Arizona and has more than one million members.