California Governor Signs Bill to Block Offshore Drilling Expansion

The Maritime Executive | September 9, 2018

California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed legislation  to block new federal offshore oil drilling along California’s coast on Saturday.

He also announced the state’s opposition to the federal government’s plan to expand oil drilling on public lands in California.

“Today, California’s message to the Trump administration is simple: Not here, not now,” said Brown. “We will not let the federal government pillage public lands and destroy our treasured coast.”

SB 834 by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) and AB 1775 by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) block the Trump administration’s plan to expand offshore oil drilling by prohibiting new leases for new construction of oil and gas-related infrastructure, such as pipelines, within state waters if the federal government authorizes any new offshore oil leases.

There has been no federal expansion of oil and gas drilling along California’s coastline for more than 30 years.

The action comes days before grassroots activists, mayors, governors, heads of industry and international leaders convene in San Francisco for the express purpose of mobilizing climate action at the Global Climate Action Summit.

“From the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill to the 2015 Refugio spill, I represent a community that knows all too well the devastation oil spills can bring to our economy and environment. I’m very pleased to see this legislation signed into law, because we’ve always known, that if we don’t drill, it can’t spill,” said Jackson.

The Governor also signed AB 2864 by Assemblymember Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara) which will improve the assessment of damage and restoration and mitigation measures after an oil spill affecting coastal resources.

Earlier this year, Brown joined Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Washington Governor Jay Inslee to condemn the Trump administration’s proposal to expand oil and gas offshore drilling. In late 2016, Brown called on the federal government to use its authority under Section 12(a) of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to withdraw federal waters off the coast of California from new offshore oil and gas leasing and guarantee the prohibition of future oil and gas drilling in these waters.

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