Lt. Governor Newsom closes door on new Pacific oil and gas drilling, ahead of Trump's expansion order

4-27-17

SACRAMENTO - California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, who serves as Chair of California State Lands Commission, issues the following statement in anticipation of a federal directive ordering the review and sale of drilling rights in federal waters off California's coast:

"California's door is closed to President Trump's Pacific oil and gas drilling. The State Lands Commission, which manages or has oversight of all submerged lands along California's entire coastline, is unequivocally resolved to create an environmental rampart along California's coast.

"New oil and gas development in the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf threatens the environment, delays the nation's movement toward renewable energy development, contributes to increased greenhouse gas emissions, and can adversely affect tourism and fisheries. The Santa Barbara oil spill of 1969 is forever etched into California consciousness.

"Commissioners have directed staff to take appropriate actions to ensure that any oil and gas product from new drilling never makes landfall in California.

"No new leases that enable expanded drilling off California's coast will be issued and the pipelines bringing oil and gas onshore from platforms in federal waters are all under leases managed by, or under the oversight of, the State Lands Commission. The Commission will review these individual leases and any expanded drilling under President Trump's order will be taken into account."

BACKGROUND

The California State Lands Commission has exclusive jurisdiction over all ungranted tide and submerged lands owned by the state, and of the beds of navigable rivers, streams, lakes, bays, estuaries, inlets, and straits.

These sovereign lands encompass approximately four million acres and include tidelands and submerged lands along the more than 1,130 miles of coastline and offshore from the ordinary high water mark to three nautical miles offshore.

In December 2016, the Commission adopted a resolution that specifically included directing staff to take necessary action to ensure there is no new federal offshore leasing, in anticipation of the possibility of federal government re-opening the Pacific coast to new oil drilling.

The State Lands Commission has not issued a new offshore oil and gas lease since the 1969 blowout of a well in federal waters, offshore Santa Barbara County, that spilled 80,000 to 100,000 barrels of crude oil into the Santa Barbara Channel and onto the beaches of Santa Barbara County, fouling the coastline from Goleta to Ventura and representing the largest oil spill in waters off the California shore.

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