Quantcast

'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."

Sponsored
Visitors to the Grand Canyon may have been exposed to unsafe radiation levels, for almost two decades. George Rose / Getty Images

Grand Canyon visitors and employees who passed through the national park's museum collection building were exposed to radiation for nearly two decades, AZCentral reported Monday.

That's because, until last year, three five-gallon paint buckets filled with uranium ore were stored in the building, according to a Feb. 4 email sent out to all National Park Service employees by Grand Canyon safety, health and wellness manager Elston "Swede" Stephenson.

Read More Show Less

The Grand Canyon celebrates its 100th birthday as a national park this month, but it just earned itself a protector who is even older!

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Portland alley advocates estimate there are 76 miles of alleys in their city—all potential green public spaces. This northeast Portland neighborhood is one of many projects reclaiming forgotten concrete pathways for nature and people. Derek Dauphin

By Lynn Freehill-Maye

Rachel Schutz hated watching the kids play outside, and not because she was a curmudgeon. As director of an after-school program in a Latino neighborhood near ­Portland, Oregon, she likes the outdoors, the piney tang that hangs in the damp air.

Read More Show Less
RiverNorthPhotography / E+ / Getty Images

Today, the U.S. celebrates Presidents' Day, a day to commemorate the leadership and legacy of the so-far only men who have governed the country since its founding.

Read More Show Less
Bogdan Kurylo / iStock / Getty Images

By Jeff Turrentine

If you think this is going to be yet another column admonishing you for not doing enough to curb the amount of single-use plastic in our waste stream, you can relax. You don't need a lecture at this point.

Read More Show Less