Could Trump’s Offshore Drilling Plan for California Become Reality?

Offshore frackingThe Trump administration’s recent announcement week that it would seek to lease out 47 large areas in U.S. waters off America’s coasts to oil and gas exploration companies from 2019 to 2024 – including two areas off Northern California, two off Central California and two off Southern California – might have been expected to trigger elation among the Golden State’s energy-exploration firms and panic among its environmentalists.

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Instead, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, president of the Western States Petroleum Association, put out a perfunctory statement emphasizing that any such drilling would be subject to “stringent” and “overlapping” state rules as well as federal rules. And Golden State environmentalists and elected leaders pointed to all the different tools with which California could thwart the Trump administration initiative.

The most obvious is that the State Lands Commission controls and has long-established authority over the first three milesoff California’s coast. No energy exploration company will pursue an offshore drilling project without certainty that it can get the oil or natural gas it pumps to refineries and related infrastructure onshore. Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, D-Torrance, and Sen. Hannah Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, announced that they are preparing legislation to forbid the Lands Commission from approving new pipelines or infrastructure related to new offshore drilling. If the state of California blocks the construction of pipelines offshore and needed facilities onshore, offshore drilling isn’t economically feasible.

Former Coastal Commission lawyer sees plan as ‘grandstanding’

The huge obstacles led Ralph Faust, former general counsel for the California Coastal Commission, to tell the Los Angeles Times that the Trump administration’s plan “just seems like grandstanding.”

The Coastal Commission also has tools that give it a potential veto over what is happening in the federally controlled waters beyond three miles from shore – if it finds federally sanctioned actions are incompatible with the state’s offshore management plan. The federal courts have at times sided with states and at times with Washington when such claims are made.

While California is the third-largest oil-producing state in the United States – after Texas and North Dakota – its untapped potential has frustrated energy exploration companies for decades. No new offshore drilling, such as the facility off the Santa Barbara coast that is pictured on this post, has been approved in more than 30 years.

On land, some geologists think there are vast amounts of oil in the Monterey shale – a massive underground area along the Central California coast and inland – that could be recovered with fracking. Similar finds have yielded billions of dollars for oil exploration firms and substantial new tax revenues in North Dakota, Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

But while Gov. Jerry Brown initially seemed intrigued by the possibility of drilling in the Monterey shale after taking office in 2011, his interest disappeared after the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s 2014 decision to sharply reduceestimates of recoverable oil under the Golden State.

Florida’s request for exception quickly granted; California gripes ignored

Instead of grandstanding, as the former Coastal Commission counsel suggested, it’s also possible that the Trump administration and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke are trolling Gov. Jerry Brown and other Democratic leaders in the deep-blue Golden State.

On Tuesday, Zinke announced he was dropping plans to lease drilling sites off Florida at the request of the state’s governor, Rick Scott, a Republican.

Zinke has offered no comment on the far more vociferous objections to his offshore drilling plan from California’s top elected officials.

This article was originally published by


  1. let the state of CA tax it; it will get done.

  2. California’s gas prices at the pump could go wayyyy down BUT Gov. Moonbeam & alllllll his cronies will fight Californians having lower gas prices. He raised gas prices just recently saying the extra $$$ will go to infrastructure LIAR! It’s all going to Gov workers & Union pensions and to those companies /Unions that poor the cash into his campaigns. They need all the money they can steal from Californians. Unfortunately there r all the brain dead who believe the lies. Don’t believe there is no oil out there. It’s all lies & gas will just keep going up so Gov Moonbeam can rip Californians off

  3. I meant gas prices keep go UP

  4. Oil exploration and drilling has become a more exact science that doesn’t create forests of towers. In production, as seen in Kern County among the almond trees are small plots where horizontally bored wells splay out in different directions. Advantages of horizontal boring include smaller platform footprint and better penetration across usually horizontal deposits. This is also true for offshore drilling, in spite of the enviroweenies.

    A friend of mine once from St. Phillip the Apostle Parish in Bakersfield invented the horizontal boring tool when he worked for Union Oil. The technology has blossomed with improvements and better progress monitoring.

    It was a guided horizontal boring process that cut off the flow in the BP Gulf blowout. A mile away, 5,000 ft of water, string dropped, then guided to blown casing, bored into and plugged it. Try that with a speedometer cable.

  5. Even if price increases for oil, I doubt any drilling will take place off the coastal areas of California. Nothing will change the minds of California Coastal Commission. Also,The Commission will not allow slant drilling. California would rather pave their highway system with solar cells and furnish free bicycles for those still working.

  6. Haven’t we gone through this exercise already? Who wants to look at more platforms off the coast? In earthquake country no less. Plenty of resources inland. BTW… I guess the NIMBYs in Florida don’t want it either according to the article, and they’ve already been recused from the plan to drill! Why? Trump doesn’t want to look out his estate windows at any platforms and neither do other Floridians, but California is being blasted!? Hypocrites.

  7. I HOPE the hell not! Look what happened in the Southeast. Thousands lost jobs, millions of mammals and fish were killed. NO THANKS.

    Gas for the car is great, but what about where we live? Be honest. Do you want an oil spill in our oceans because sure as sh** if they allow some foreign country to drill for oil off our coast, (or US country for that matter), there is going to be an accident. NO NO a thousand times NO.

  8. WE in California are subject to a ONE PARTY OF DELUSION and as such we have the LARGEST unfunded liabilities in our history (Trillions)….. the larget JOKE transportation plan (hi speed rail to NO where),,, a DEMOCRAT and BROWN manufactured WATER SHORTAGE (They DUMPED over 3.8 TRILLION gallons of water in SF Bay instead of shipping it to So Cal since they have NOT used our taxes to maintain our water infrastructure and then blame ‘global warming’ for massive fire seasons as they CUT water (which IS available and wasted by dumping it)… while Brown says “Let your laws and lands go brown to conserve” (which then BURN like he)) each season. (NERO seems such an appropriate simile hmm?).
    IF….IF Californians do NOT elect a Republican Governor to get this rape of our great state to STOP and begin the pendulum swing to sanity…. California ALREADY has the highest budget deficit…. highest unemployment next to Mississippi (Even DETROIT is LOWER!!)… most wasted water… most mismanaged budget…. most business REPRESSIVE regs in the nation AND the MOST illegal aliens AND MOST people on welfare.
    There is NOTHING GOLDEN about California….
    VOTE REPUBLICAN in mass people of…be prepared to LEAVE as 2.8 MILLION have done these last 5 years.

  9. Only one big problem with California coast fracking – the abundant series of earthquake faults known as the San Andreas. If fracking is indisputably causing small earthquakes in the central US where no faults exist, it follows logically that it will cause 7, 8 or even larger quakes on the fault systems of Northern California. Conventional oil drilling has taken place in Southern California for many years without causing earthquakes, but that does not mean that fracking could not cause a monstrous quake in Northern California. Read the EIR for Lease Sale 91 published maybe 30 years ago. Its three volumes contain only a single paragraph concerning earthquake risk which states essentially that the risk is unknown. Have any scientists who are NOT employed by the oil industry done studies of the impact of the billions of gallons of water that need to be pumped into the ground in connection with fracking on the active earthquake faults here? If so, I would be delighted to read those studies. Until then, drilling in Northern California would be imprudent.

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