Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

'Not a Single Drop': California to Block Trump's Offshore Drilling Plan

Popular
'Not a Single Drop': California to Block Trump's Offshore Drilling Plan
Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement

The Trump administration's plan to vastly expand offshore oil drilling along the U.S. coastline has drawn bipartisan opposition from nearly all coastal governors.

Now, in one of the strongest declarations of opposition yet, California's Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, chair of the state's powerful land commission has vowed "not a single drop from your new oil plan will ever make landfall in California."


So what's the plan? The Golden State will deny pipeline permits for transporting oil over land from new leases off the Pacific Coast.

California's State Lands Commission sent a letter on Wednesday to the U.S. Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management that stated, "It is certain that the state would not approve new pipelines or allow use of existing pipelines to transport oil from new leases onshore."

Additionally, as NPR reported, even if oil companies drill off California's shores, they cannot construct new onshore infrastructure—i.e. terminals, pipelines and other equipment—without voter approval from more than a dozen coastal cities and counties first.

While companies can get offshore oil without using onshore equipment—they can instead use floating oil rigs and transfer the oil onto ships—that method is much more difficult and expensive. And after consecutive years of low oil prices, companies would likely look elsewhere.

"Absolutely," Bob Fryklund with IHS Markit, which does research and consulting for the oil industry, told NPR. "The companies look at that. They look at the ease of operation."

Furthermore, CNBC noted that California could also invoke the federal Coastal Zonal Management Act of 1972, which gives states the authority to review offshore federal and industrial activity that may affect a state's coastal uses or resources.

"This strategy," as CNBC pointed out, "could provide a blueprint for other states" opposed to offshore drilling.

Californians have been spooked by offshore drilling for decades ever since a 1969 spill leached three million gallons of oil off the coast of Santa Barbara, prompting many of state's drilling restrictions today. Another spill in 2015 in Santa Barbara County sent more than 100,000 gallons of oil onto local beaches.

This isn't the first time the state blocked federal drilling plans. According to the Mercury News, "If the Democrats win back either the House or the Senate in 2018 or 2020 … they could kill those efforts by refusing to fund the Interior Department's leasing programs, as they did in the 1980s when Leon Panetta, then a Monterey congressman, blocked all funds for the Reagan administration to pursue new drilling off California."

A plastic bag caught in a tree in New Jersey's Palisades Park. James Leynse / Stone / Getty Images

New Jersey is one step closer to passing what environmental advocates say is the strongest anti-plastic legislation in the nation.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) talks to reporters during her weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center on Sept. 18, 2020 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

The House of Representatives passed a sweeping bill to boost clean energy while phasing out the use of coolants in air conditioners and refrigerators that are known pollutants and contribute to the climate crisis, as the AP reported.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington comforts Marsha Maus, 75, whose home was destroyed during California's deadly 2018 wildfires, on March 11, 2019 in Agoura Hills, California. Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times / Getty Images

By Governor Jay Inslee

Climate Week this year coincides with clear skies in Washington state for the first time in almost two weeks.

In just a few days in early September, Washington state saw enough acres burned – more than 600,000 – to reach our second-worst fire season on record. Our worst fire season came only five years ago. Wildfires aren't new to the west, but their scope and danger today is unlike anything firefighters have seen. People up and down the West Coast – young and old, in rural areas and in cities – were choking on smoke for days on end, trapped in their homes.

Fires like these are becoming the norm, not the exception.

Read More Show Less
Four more years will be enough to cement in place Trump's anti-environmental policies and to make sure it's too late to really change course. Enrique Meseguer / Pixabay

By Bill McKibben

To understand the planetary importance of this autumn's presidential election, check the calendar. Voting ends on November 3—and by a fluke of timing, on the morning of November 4 the United States is scheduled to pull out of the Paris Agreement.

President Trump announced that we would abrogate our Paris commitments during a Rose Garden speech in 2017. But under the terms of the accords, it takes three years to formalize the withdrawal. So on Election Day it won't be just Americans watching: The people of the world will see whether the country that has poured more carbon into the atmosphere than any other over the course of history will become the only country that refuses to cooperate in the one international effort to do something about the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
A woman marks down her vote on a ballot for the Democratic presidential primary election at a polling place on Super Tuesday, March 3, 2020 in Herndon, Virginia. Samuel Corum / Getty Images

By Oliver Milman

The climate crisis is set to be a significant factor in a U.S. presidential election for the first time, with new polling showing a clear majority of American voters want decisive action to deal with the threats posed by global heating.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch