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Trump Wants To Drill Off Central Coast

January 4,2018-

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The Trump administration announced this week they want to allow new offshore drilling off the coasts of both Florida and California where vehement opposition is expected to the controversial proposal. Already GOP governor Rick Scott asked that Florida be removed before a multi-year study happens.

Six sites off California and one off Washington

Six sites off California and one off Washington

Included in the plan to drill 40 new sites in waters off the coast are Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico,Washington and 6 sites offshore of California including 2 sites in Central California.Sites could be leased in federal water, 3 miles offshore by 2021.

It was as recently as 2015 that a corroded pipeline bringing in offshore platform oil ruptured at Refugio Beach, shutting down several oil platforms. The 3400 barrel spill coated hundreds of animals along the coast with thick crude oil and many died.

But Trump officials say we need the oil.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke made the announcement saying that the 47 proposed leasing areas could increase federal revenue by $15 billion.

“It’s better to produce energy here and never be held hostage by foreign enemy needs,” Zinke said, adding it’s a “clear difference between energy weakness and energy dominance.”

Zinke says currently the existing program puts 94 percent of the continental shelf off limits. With this plan the Trump program is proposing the largest number of lease sales in U.S. history.

“Responsibly developing our energy resources on the Outer Continental Shelf in a safe and well-regulated way is important to our economy and energy security, and it provides billions of dollars to fund the conservation of our coastlines, public lands and parks,” said Secretary Zinke. “Today’s announcement lays out the options that are on the table and starts a lengthy and robust public comment period. Just like with mining, not all areas are appropriate for offshore drilling, and we will take that into consideration in the coming weeks. The important thing is we strike the right balance to protect our coasts and people while still powering America and achieving American Energy Dominance”

Reaction in California is expected to be swift and emphatically against the idea. Already Central Coast Congressman Salud Carbajal has issued a statement blasting the notion.

“Protecting the health and safety of our coastal communities is vital, and that is why the first bill I introduced in Congress, moved to ban future offshore oil and gas drilling off the coast of California. Coastal tourism and recreation accounts for over 80% of California’s GDP, accounting for over 800,000 jobs and billions of dollars in revenue each year.

“The Central Coast knows too well the damage caused by oil spills, our local economies and fragile ocean ecosystems cannot afford another disastrous spill. I am committed to working with my colleagues to fight this misguided decision that risks the health and safety of our coastal communities. We must prevent further expansion of drilling in our oceans and to move toward sustainable, renewable energy sources that boost job creation locally and grow our economy.”

The betting is that both state and county opposition would make it difficult for offshore drillers to bring their product ashore to be processed. Making it difficult for drillers to bring in the oil would likely force the oil companies to look elsewhere where permitting is easier and opposition is lighter.

“Californians will never let this happen,” said U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael). “This reckless proposal for a new offshore drilling spree should face widespread, bipartisan opposition. We’ll fight them in Congress, on the beaches, in the courts, and at the ballot box. I’m confident we’ll defeat this dangerous plan.”

There are 7 lease sales in the Pacific Region (2 each for Northern California, Central California, and Southern California, and 1 for Washington/Oregon). There have been no sales in the Pacific Region since 1984. Currently there are 43 leases in producing status in the Southern California Planning Area.

The US is already awash in oil and natural gas after the successful implementation of slant drilling technology that has boosted the US to the top as the world’s largest producer of oil.

Crude oil production in the US is approaching 10 million barrels day, up from 7 million barrels in January 2013 and 5.4 million barrels in 2010.To get rid of a surplus of oil, crude companies have ramped up exports increasing monthly volume exports from half a million barrels in 2016 to 1.7 million barrels as of October 2017.Almost all of the increase production is coming from onshore wells, mostly from Texas’ Permian Basin, shale deposits.

Already this week’s draft proposal has received approximately 816,000 comments from a wide variety of stakeholders, including state governments, federal agencies, public interest groups, industry, and the public. Before the program is finalized, the public will have additional opportunities to provide input. The 2017-2022 Five Year Program will continue to be implemented until the new National OCS Program is approved.

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