The Trump administration may be hell-bent on opening up any and all lands for the oil and gas industry but California is one place where the anti-environment administration will be facing a hard fight.
The state of California on Monday moved to block the Trump administration from allowing new oil and gas wells in national parks and wilderness areas in the state, reports the Los Angeles Times.
AB 342, which will now head to California Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk for consideration, stands in the way of the Trump administration’s plan to frack in areas like the Carrizo Plains National Monument.
California has long fought against the Trump administration’s plans for expanded oil and gas drilling in the state. More than 50 lawsuits have been filed by the state against the Trump administration from challenges to new EPA policy to proposed energy and fuel-efficiency standards, such as the Trump administration’s attempt to relax tailpipe pollution regulation, despite recent studies showing a strong link between air pollution from vehicles being linked to degenerative eye disease.
The new legislation effectively expands upon the law signed by Governor Jerry Brown last year that blocked all new offshore drilling in California by prohibiting drilling on any state lands near federally protected lands.
According to the Los Angeles Times:
The bill bars any state agency from granting land leases or other conveyance for pipelines and infrastructure for any new oil or gas project on those federal sites. That includes the State Lands Commission, which has jurisdiction over all submerged lands and the beds of rivers, lakes, bays, estuaries and inlets, as well as waters extending three miles off shore.
While environmental groups championed the new legislation (the Sierra Club stated “It is a big signal to Trump that California is not going to stand by and allow him to expand fossil fuel extraction and contribute to a worsening of the climate change emergency,”) some California lawmakers were furious.
“This is a blatant attack on the oil industry,” said Senate Minority Leader Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield). Grove claims that limiting new oil production in the state will lead to increased reliance on oil exports from outside sources and would hurt areas of California, such as the Central Valley, where oil production is heavy.
Earlier this year the Trump administration announced plans of their intention to end a five-year moratorium on leasing federal land in California to oil and gas developers. Unfortunately for them (and for the oil industry) it looks like California isn’t on board with their plans.