Democrat-dominated California is determined to resist a new Trump administration policy that would open the Outer Continental Shelf for offshore drilling for oil and gas.
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced in a statement Thursday that the Department of the Interior wanted “to make over 90 percent of the total OCS acreage and more than 98 percent of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources in federal offshore areas available to consider for future exploration and development.” The statement added: “By comparison, the current program puts 94 percent of the OCS off limits.”
California has vast offshore oil and gas resources. But the state has been broadly hostile to offshore development and exploration since an oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara in 1969, which was the worst spill in U.S. history at the time, and which helped launched the fledgling environmental movement.
Southern California Public Radio notes:
Political and public opposition to offshore drilling runs strong in the state. California was the site of the first offshore drilling in the U.S. more than 120 years ago, but the region was tarnished by one of the worst spills in U.S. history in 1969, when more than 3 million gallons of oil poured into the ocean near Santa Barbara.
Public outrage generated by the [Santa Barbara] spill helped spark the modern environmental movement, and no federal leases have been granted off the California coast since 1984. Today, 69 percent of Californians oppose offshore drilling, according to a 2017 survey by the Public Policy Institute of California. Drilling state coastal waters has been banned since 1994.
Governor Jerry Brown and the West Coast governors of Washington and Oregon issued a joint statement on
Thursday against Trump’s new policy, vowing to do “whatever it takes to stop this reckless, short-sighted action.”