Officials in California say the Church of Scientology is apologizing after releasing hundreds of balloons during a grand opening of a new church.
Saturday’s release of the helium balloons angered Ventura city officials, who fear they will damage the environment in and around their community some 68 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
Remnants of the balloons typically wash ashore or fall to the ground and can end up in the stomachs of marine life and animals.
“This is a community that voraciously defends its natural environment and we will not stand for this type of assault on our environment and animal life,” Ventura Mayor Matt LaVere told CNN. “It is completely hypocritical for the church to claim environmental bona fides and then turn around and do a balloon release which does incredible harm to this environment they claim to protect.”
LaVere said the church apologized Monday during a city council meeting in Ventura.
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