California’s Attorney General Tells Trump Administration That Drilling Off the California Coast Would Be ‘Unjustified, Unprecedented, and Ill-advised’

Humboldt bay sunset

Sun setting on the Humboldt Bay. [Photo by Kym Kemp]

Press release from the California Attorney General’s Office:

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today submitted a 22-page comment letter to the Trump Administration, detailing the plethora of reasons why opening California’s coasts to new offshore drilling would be unjustified, unprecedented, and ill-advised. California is home to approximately 1,100 miles of world-renowned coastline, and Attorney General Becerra underscores that he is prepared to do what is necessary to protect every single one of those 1,100 miles, including going to court.

“California has banned offshore drilling for two simple reasons: we don’t need it and we know what happens when it goes wrong,” said Attorney General Becerra. “That’s why we are proudly leading the way on reducing dependence on fossil fuels – and we’re not turning back. If the Trump Administration ultimately tries to open our coasts to new offshore drilling, we will see them in court.”

In today’s letter to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), Attorney General Becerra lodges formal objections to leasing off California’s coast. Specifically, he stresses that:

  • California is familiar with the environmental and economic consequences of oil spills. The 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, for instance, resulted in an 11-day spill with as much as 4.2 million gallons of crude oil gushing from the well and ocean floor;
  • California’s thriving coastal economy—which represents over 10 percent of the national economy and generates $1.7 trillion of GDP (a figure greater than all but 11 nations)—should not be put at risk by increased oil drilling in federal waters off our coast;
  • Any benefit of increased oil production to California is insignificant;
  • Regional and national energy markets do not need oil production in federal waters off California;
  • The lack of industry interest in developing in federal waters off of California weighs heavily against new oil drilling;
  • California’s laws, goals, and policies are contrary to new oil drilling off our coast;
  • BOEM’s analysis needs to take into account current and foreseeable lack of onshore infrastructure, and BOEM needs to consider the potential damage and costs from increased greenhouse gas emissions the oil drilling would cause;
  • BOEM’s consideration of environmental factors and concerns does not accurately account for the sensitivity of California’s marine environment; and
  • Fairly balancing the potential for environmental damage, the potential for the discovery of oil and gas, and the potential for adverse impact on the coastal zone would exclude California’s planning areas from leasing.

Attorney General Becerra has expressed his opposition to the Trump Administration’s proposal to open California’s coast to new offshore drilling on numerous occasions. He quickly responded to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s decision to exempt Florida from offshore drilling on January 9penned a New York Times op-ed titled “Florida Isn’t the Only State That Will Be Hurt by Offshore Drilling” on January 16, and sent a multi-state letter to Secretary Zinke on February 1.



  • And…….Very unlikely oil in recoverable amounts…..

  • Honeydew Bridge C.H.U.M.P.

    Oil isn’t made from ferns and fake dinosaurs, it is created from the combustion of the plasma core of the planet. No need to fear something natural that the planet just makes.

    Fossil Fuel people also watch Apollo moon landing films and think it’s real.

    Every single dinosaur display is made in China and part of The Traveler’s great deception.

    Drill on, and take it a step further by conscripting Neo Hippy types to work the rigs.

    This soy culture is going too far, enough is enough.

    • TreeFairyPrincess

      Regardless of where oil comes from,the fact of the matter is it’s protected UNDER the earth crust. We are all taught from an early age oil&water don’t mix,unless you fancy a refreshing dip in an ocean of Italian dressing,lol. …and what about the leak in the gulf of Mexico,where they announced they had no way to cap it before it mysteriously disappeared from media coverage? I don’t know about anyone else,but I’d like to leave more for our children than oil slicked water,dead birds&tainted fish…

      • and how do you then explain the natural oil leaking into rivers, and streams up north ? Facts are people that insist on breeding are infact destorying the planet more than anything else. humans must destory in order to live. we consume and we breed. we have pasted the point where we can do that without destorying the planet that currently hosts us. there is no reason to make it harder on folks than it has to be. solar and wind tech today still requires materials made from oil. today only 30 percent of a barrel of oil is used for fuel the other 70 percent or so is used to make things like medicine, fertilziers , chemicials, needed for research, plastices that are used in hostpials as well as food phones computers air bags etc. but , yeah you have the right to keep pushing those kids out who will push out even more kids and on and on , but just because you decide to push them out doeent mean you get special privledge to control how hard others have to live

    • Really. Iron becomes hydrocarbons how? You seem to be pretty certain of that. Have any chemistry to back up that bold assersion?

  • Remember the huge oil spill that happened near Santa Barbara few years ago and the impact on tourism. Let’s have a Valdez incident or something where a pipeline bursts…Oh honey let’s go walk in the oil tonight we can get tan without even having to be in the Sun.

  • “California is proudly leading the way on reducing dependency on fossil fuels?” the only thing California is close to leading the nation on with fossil fuels is tax. And cost of road repair which is something like 4 times the national average.

  • I sure wish I didnt own a business in California …

  • Want and necessity are 2 different things. If a private company doesn’t do their job they get fired, if the government doesn’t you defend them and they get a bigger budget?

  • Concerned Trinity County Resident

    The 1969 oil spill was 49 years ago, almost 50 years ago; technology has come a long way in fifty years. Think of the jobs this would provide and lower gas prices, which California sorely needs.

    • How far along has technology gotten since Deepwater Horizon?

    • Lost Croat Outburst

      Deepwater Horizon was in 2010, April 20. BP executives decided to save money with an inadequate shutdown procedure. Save money, man. Like, we don’t have enough money to pay our dumbass workers, man. Peace and Love, man. 11 workers died immediately and the Gulf of Mexico was drowned in oil for weeks. A cost of billions and inestimable damage to the ocean. Nice job. Who went to jail? Just what California needs, another nail in the coffin of our collapsing ocean ecosystem. Presidential Idiot Trump exempted Florida from coastal drilling. Surprise!

  • Comment sections: the platform of cranks and crazies. Really? All in support would sacrifice one of California’s greatest resources to fill the pockets of oil execs? If anyone thinks extracting oil of our coast would lower gas prices you are insane.

    • You, like every liberal, do not understand the immutable laws of supply and demand. Are the “weed execs” pocketing all the extra money coming from all of the excess weed being grown? No! The excess supply is driving the price down.
      The only reason the price won’t get lower for gas, with more supply, is that the pigs that you worship, A.K.A. government, will target the newfound lower gas prices for higher taxes; they’re already proposing it. The extra money will be fucked off like it always is and the roads will look like shit like they always do. When the gas prices go back up due to demand, the extra taxes will remain and the price of gas will be higher than ever. Your slave masters (politicians) will go on public tirades about greedy oil execs and promise solutions that only worsen the problem. And you will believe them and vote, cluelessly, to further your own oppression. Congratulations!

      • Take a deep breath..
        Hopefully some day you will get to live in your fantasy world where Wayne Lapierre is king and Fox News plays all day long on every channel.

        • Emily, please address the issue instead of ridiculing the poster. Attacking, insulting, belittling the poster is inappropriate.

          FWIW, if we watched all channels, instead of just msm, we’d arrive at our own better informed conclusions. Being parrots is not fun, when the crackers are stale.

          As usual, well said Rollin21.

          • Oh come on.. his rant is so scattershot there is no way to respond in a logical way. All I can say, is if you buy into his world view, it must be a lonely place.
            What, he is against roads, he doesn’t understand that the govt pays huge subsidies to oil companies? He lives in Lala land. Sorry to hurt your sensitive feelings, shak.
            I’m not against oil and drilling per se, but doing it in the ocean, esp our ocean, is and should be sacrilege.
            It’s a no brainer.. it fucks up the water. We need the water to be clean so we can survive, it’s that simple. Do you remember the oil spill off Trinidad in the 90s? Are you in favor of that? Come on.. it doesn’t have to be right vs left. Just be sane.

            • He responded in the same language that the person he was responding to used. It’s not our call to correct the one, but not the other, but it is our call to correct those who feed/support the first person’s wild accusations.

  • federal waters, that sums it up, why does califorina hippies feel they have the right to control everyone else ? oh how the tides have turned from hey dude, live and let live man. to i read on the internet on my phone thst is made from oil, that is the latest and greatest that uses power that fossil fuels are evil and bad so we are going to force the rest of the nation to follow us or pay us big time to get a resource they own. humboldt county is the worst. how much are you truely giving a single crap about the planet when you live 30 miles from where you shop see a doctor or your kids go to school ? seriously ? i dont care how much you enjoy the country life, it is country life people that kill the country. if any of you cared about the planet, you would move into the city, buy a condo and never ever set foot in nature , because as soon as you set your foot in it you are disturbing it causing god only knows how much damage. but keep being selfish and tell everyone else how to live their lives while you live yours however the hell your entittled selfs feel like

  • Drill baby drill

    • You should consider moving to oil country. This is tree country, and ocean country. We don’t want our waters fouled. Go back under your bridge.

      • Yep and instead we can keep buying our oil from the Middle East, cuz we know how much they give a shit about the planet and how regulated their industry is and how well they treat their citizens.

        It’s like the over regulations that have run Industries out of America in general, we haven’t stopped any global warming epidemic by chasing the companies from a regulated country to a non-regulated country. Now they just mass-produced with no regulations at all in China selling us cheaper shit. And the jet stream brings it over and dumps it right on top of the western United States.
        It’ s like buying an electrical car and then plugging it into an outlet at your house, which is powered by either a coal-fire plant, a natural gas plant or Nuclear Plant all the while thinking you’re saving the Earth when in fact it causes more pollution than a gas efficient vehicle.

        • Well.. we actually produce more gas than the Middle East. But my point is- you get it from where it is… it’s not here at least, not much.. and if you think you are so smart, come up with a better idea for moving people around. Electric cars have a lot of problems… but it is more efficient to burn propane at a plant, and make energy than it is to have a bunch of vehicles all belching diesel and gas into the air all over the place. Do I own an electric car? No way!! But it is a move on n the right direction, maybe… for the masses, in cities.. what’s your idea since you seem to have it all figured out?
          And you don’t like government regulations? So you’d rather go back to the old days when chemical plants could destroy rivers and literally catch them on fire? Do you know any history?

  • I’ve recently stumbled upon the fascinating (imo) research about two different black goo’s. One is good, one is evil. The good goo comes from the earth. The evil goo comes from outer space. The good goo helps us in our travels, communications, products, healthcare procedures, etc… while the evil goo unites only oppression, poverty and hate.

    Hareld Vella explains the research.

  • The idea that an oil spill could happen here of the magnitude the Deepwater Horizon disaster is plenty frightening enough without needing other ramifications to be considered. Somethings are too far and drilling of the earthquake prone coast is one in spades.

  • Let’s see…the same guys who are constantly whining about pot growers destroying the environment are totally on board for drilling for oil , one of the dirtiest activities on the planet, in our precious Pacific ecosystem.

  • All the oil companies have to do is call the off shore platforms illegal weed grows and the environmentalsists will leave them alone.

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