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article imageTrump opens 725,000 acres of California coast to oil drilling

By Karen Graham     Oct 5, 2019 in Politics
Sacramento - The Trump administration on Friday dismissed protests and made a formal decision to open 725,500 acres of public lands and mineral estate across California’s Central Coast and the Bay Area to new oil and gas drilling and fracking.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) made the decision to make federal land available for fossil fuel production across Fresno, Monterey, San Benito and other counties for the first time in half a decade, reports The Hill.
While environmentalists say new oil rigs and fracking will hurt California's land and water, as well as contribute to climate change, the Interior Department argues the expansion will help in assuring that the U.S. maintains its dominance, achieves energy independence, and economic growth reports Axios.
Interestingly, the BLM says, "The decision does not authorize any actual drilling for exploration or development of oil and gas resources."
“This reckless move is the toxic convergence of Trump’s climate denial, loyalty to the oil industry and grudge against California,” said Clare Lakewood, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity.
“Turning over these spectacular wild places to dirty drilling and fracking will sicken Californians, harm endangered species and fuel climate chaos. We’ll fight tooth and nail to make sure it doesn’t happen.”
Pumpjack located south of Midland  Texas.
Pumpjack located south of Midland, Texas.
Eric Kounce TexasRaiser
The BLM plan
The BLM planning document estimates that oil and gas production on private and public lands would directly support nearly 3,000 jobs and establish $670 million in tax revenue. California will get 50 percent of the royalty fees incurred from the project.
The BLM prefers leasing with controlled surface stipulations which would be allowed on approximately 683,000 acres of Federal mineral estate, and another 42,400 acres would be open to leasing with no surface occupancy.
The agency predicts there could be 37 new oil and gas wells drilled during the next 20 years on Federal minerals within the planning area. The BLM estimates that the oil and gas industry on private and public lands directly supports approximately 3,000 jobs and $623 million dollars in tax revenue within Fresno, Monterey, and San Benito counties.
According to The Hill, the BLM can begin taking requests for leases from fossil fuel companies after 30 days - when the appeal period will end. The Trump administration's push to begin oil and gas drilling in California is directly counter to the state's clean energy push, and the state's Attorney General Xavier Becerra criticized it for having an emphasis on fossil fuel use.
“In California, we're already well on our way to energy independence and we're doing it in a smart way. This is 2019, not 1920. We don't need to jeopardize our health or our environment to develop the energy sources we need,” Becerra said in a statement.
More about California, oil and gas drilling, opens public lands, ends moratorium, 725000 acres
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