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Legislation Aims to Prevent Offshore Drilling in California

Cities Urged to Support AB 1775 and SB 834

March 6, 2018
Identical bills introduced in the Senate and Assembly prohibit expanded offshore oil and natural gas production off the California coast.
 
The bills are in response to a draft U.S. Department of the Interior five-year plan for the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program (National OCS Program). The draft proposed program for 2019–2024 includes 47 new potential leases, including six in California. This proposal would allow for new drilling off California’s coast for the first time since 1984. California has prohibited new oil and gas leases in the state’s coastal waters (with some exceptions) since the passage of the California Coastal Sanctuary Act in 1994.
 
AB 1775 (Muratsuchi) and SB 834 (Jackson) would prohibit the State Lands Commission (SLC) or local trustees from entering into new lease agreements, or renewing, expanding, or modifying existing agreements that would result in increased oil or natural gas from federal waters.
 
Concerns Raised Over Expansion of Offshore Drilling
 
Opening waters off the California coast to new offshore oil and natural gas exploration and production would impose substantial new costs to coastal cities. Coastal cities near the new offshore site may be impacted by potential needs for new facilities and services needed to support offshore development activities, as well as possible debris and other litter that may wash up on beaches.
 
Oil spills that occur off California’s coast bring substantial costs to coastal cities on a variety of fronts. These events not only require expensive and intensive clean up and disaster relief, but strain the overall economy by threatening the important tourism industry in these communities.
 
Next Steps
 
It is yet to be determined which bill will be the final one that moves through the legislative process. SB 834 has been referred to the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee; AB 1775 has been referred to the Assembly Natural Resources Committee. Hearing dates have not been set.
 
Cities are encouraged to send in support letters on each bills to the respective committees.
 
Sample letters and the League’s support letters can be found by visiting www.cacities.org/billsearch and plugging the bill number into the search function.


 
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