California can block the New Drilling of Oil in American Off-shore Oil Wells

Two factors are working against the proposal by the Trump administration to start drilling oil off the shores of California waters: simple economics and state regulators. The state of California has legal tools at its disposal which are very powerful to annul the new development for off-shore drilling. Moreover, the oil prices in the global market add a minimal incentive to the energy sector to pursue oil drilling projects whose costs are astronomical next to a state that is publicly hostile to the federal government.

A former California Coastal Commission General Counsel, Ralph Faust, said that no chance would be economically reasonable for the federal government to lease or even drill oil along the Californian coast. Faust added that any intentions to do off-shore drilling along the coast of California were just efforts of grandstanding by the Trump administration. On Thursday, the Interior Department launched its five-year drilling plan with plans that would open up extensive areas of the Pacific and Atlantic coasts to the exploration of oil and gas. The leasing program would run for five years from 2019 through to 2024.

However, the federal government proposal is experiencing a myriad of obstacles with opponents and coastal communities in the affected areas threatening to go to court to block the off-shore drilling. The five-year drilling plan also raises questions whether there is much interest in the Californian oil reserves by the American oil industry at a time when internal drilling and oil production is highest decades. Under the five-year drilling plan that was released by the Interior Department, the US federal government would give a total of 47 leases in the United States territorial waters situated on the outer continental shelf.

This is set to include two leases each in the central, southern and northern coasts of California and one lease of the coast of Oregon and Washington. The elected governors in Oregon, Washington, and California issues a statement jointly saying that they would do all that was at their disposal to ensure that the leasing of drilling wells off their shores was blocked entirely. The three states on the west coast of the United States have one of the moist coastlines in the entire United States. The proposal by the Trump administration is also set to experience comprehensive review of its environmental impact assessment under federal law. Some of the opponents are even drafting a petition to challenge the move in a federal court as environmentally harmful.


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