“New offshore oil can’t be brought ashore” key California Agency tells Trump Administration

Feb 7, 2018 | Oil and Gas, Press Release

Only CA hearing for Trump offshore drilling plan to take place on Feb. 8 in Sacramento

Sacramento, CA – Ahead of the Trump Administration’s only public hearing in California to discuss the revised federal offshore drilling plan on February 8, California’s State Lands Commission sent a letter to the federal government condemning both the plan and the public participation process, while stating unequivocally that California will not approve new pipeline or allow use of existing pipelines to transport oil from new leases ashore.

“President Trump’s offshore oil drilling plan is a step backward in time, toward an energy policy that blindly handcuffs the nation to an unsustainable future,” said Lt. Governor and Commission Chair Gavin Newsom. “The polluting fossil fuel industry has perpetuated inequality by burdening disadvantaged communities with toxic air pollution from refineries, and it would be unethical to intensify these impacts by expanding oil production. I am resolved that not a single drop from Trump’s new oil plan ever makes landfall in California, where our leadership in reducing emissions and curbing pollution has enabled exceptional economic growth. We will not be complacent in the face of Donald Trump’s deliberate partisan assault on California, its people, and its economy, and we will use every tool available to resist his cynical, regressive agenda.”

As a state, California has perhaps the highest risk from an oil spill and the most to lose. California is the sixth largest economy in the world and home to two of the largest ports in the nation—the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports, which are a commercial gateway for the entire United States. And like Florida, which recently was exempted from the new leasing program, California’s coastal communities are highly reliant on tourism as an economic driver.

“Tapping into the ocean for oil development is wholly irresponsible,” said State Controller and Commissioner Betty T. Yee. “The fossil fuel era is ending, and our coast and waters are not for sale. As California continues to expand renewable energy uses and ceases oil drilling, the State Lands Commission will vigorously fight this reckless federal proposal in defense of our people, our environment, and our economy.”

In January 2018, the Department of the Interior released a Draft Proposed Program for developing the 2019-2024 Leasing Program and said that there would be a 60-day comment period. The proposal includes seven lease sales in the Pacific Region—two each for Northern California, Central California, and Southern California, and one for Washington/Oregon. The California State Lands Commission letter urges the federal government to withdraw this area from leasing consideration.

Californians, like the Commission, are vigorous advocates for their coast, and the prospect of new or expanded drilling in coastal waters provokes fierce opposition and sparks outrage. In the weeks to come, a broad spectrum of comments from California will pour in that describe why it would be ineffectual and reckless to allow lease sales in the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf.

The Commission manages oil, gas, and mineral resources in state waters. Its jurisdiction extends along the coastline from the mean high tide line to three nautical miles offshore, where federal jurisdiction begins. For more information, please see the Commission’s letter.

Other recent actions and resolutions by the California State Lands Commission regarding offshore oil drilling in California’s coastal federal waters include:

  • Adopting a resolution opposing the federal government’s “America-First” Offshore Energy Policy, which directed the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to develop a lease sales program that encourages the expansion of offshore drilling, and ordered a review of National Marine Sanctuaries for potential energy development.
  • Adopting a resolution supporting a ban on expanded offshore drilling off the Pacific coast and directing staff to take appropriate actions on behalf of the Commission to ensure the ban remains in place.