The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit Thursday against the U.S. Department of Interior for failing to regulate oil companies who employ hydraulic fracturing on offshore wells near the California coast. The practice known as fracking uses injects water mixed with toxic chemicals under high pressure to blast rock layers and stimulate oil production. The group filed a complaint in U.S. District Court to prohibit the federal government from issuing permits allowing fracking until it complies with existing environmental laws. The lawsuit charges that agencies of the Interior Department have been permitting offshore fracking with no analysis of the environmental impacts or whether the practice complies with rules governing oil production. Pacifica’s Vic Bedoian reports from Fresno.