Hours after President Donald Trump’s
administration unveiled plans to massively expand offshore
drilling, California lawmakers announced they’ll
re-introduce legislation to block the federal government from
doing so ― at least near their shores.
Lawmakers in both chambers of the state legislature said
Thursday that they’ll bring back a bill that would prohibit the
building of infrastructure, including pipelines, related to
petroleum development in California waters. It would also bar
the renewal, extension or modification of leases to support oil
or natural gas production, processing or transportation.
The bill would protect the waters up to three miles off
California’s coastline. The federal government has jurisdiction
beyond that point.
The state Senate version is coauthored by Hannah-Beth Jackson
(D-Santa Barbara) and Richard Lara (D-Bell Gardens), while the
Assembly version is backed by Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) and
Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara).
“California’s economy thrives because of our environmental
protections. The Trump Administration’s reckless decision to
open these waters to further oil development represents a step
backward into the outdated, dirty and destructive energy
policies of the past,” Jackson said in a statement. “It’s more
important than ever that we send a strong statement that
California will not be open for drilling along our coast, which
could devastate our multi-trillion dollar coastal economy, our
coastal waters and marine life.”
Jackson initially introduced
the bill last year, after Trump signed an executive order
instructing the Department of the Interior to review
regulations on offshore energy development. The
legislation died in committee
in September amid opposition from the petroleum lobby as well
as the California Chamber of Commerce.
“The oil industry killed that bill,” Jackson said at the time.
“They are far too powerful.”
The Trump administration’s draft plan, unveiled by Interior
Secretary Ryan Zinke on Thursday, would make approximately 90
percent of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf available for lease
by energy developers.
“This is a clear difference between energy weakness and energy
dominance,” Zinke said. “And under President Trump, we are
going to have the strongest energy policy and become the
strongest energy superpower. We certainly have the assets to do
The federal announcement was met with swift backlash from
coastal state governors and senators, including some
“I urge Secretary Zinke to recognize the Florida Congressional
delegation’s bipartisan efforts to maintain and extend the
moratorium in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, and remove this area
for future planning purposes,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said
in a statement.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), a Trump ally, said he had “already
asked to immediately meet with Secretary Zinke to discuss the
concerns I have with this plan and the crucial need to remove
Florida from consideration.”
The move also drew condemnation from many top California
officials, including Gov. Jerry Brown (D) and state Attorney
General Xavier Becerra (D).
“Drilling off the shores of California’s coast is a
non-starter. Our State has banned offshore drilling for a
reason: because we don’t want it and because we know what
happens when it goes wrong,” Becerra said in a statement. “We
are evaluating all of our options to protect our State’s
pristine natural resources.”
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