In a victory for the Bay—and the entire state—Governor Jerry Brown has signed two bills that will help prevent new offshore oil drilling along the state’s shoreline.
Senate Bill 834 and Assembly Bill 1775 were created in response to the Trump administration’s reckless plan to expand ocean drilling around the country. The administration’s proposal would open coastal areas, including along Northern California, to new bids for oil drilling. To prevent this expansion, the bills prohibit the construction in state waters of new shoreline pipelines and other infrastructure that would be essential for transporting newly drilled oil to land, where it can be processed at local refineries.
Offshore drilling is a particularly risky form of fossil fuel extraction—and it’s getting riskier. As oil companies have to dig deeper to access diminishing oil reserves, they rely on more complex and accident-prone methods. And in 2017, the Trump administration bent to oil industry demands and weakened national safety and pollution controls for offshore drilling operations that were enacted after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon tragedy.
Even with pollution controls, however, there is no such thing as a spill-resistant oil rig. Any drilling near the Bay or northern coast of California would significantly increase the risk of a catastrophic oil spill in the Bay. Baykeeper advocated in support of these bills, and we applaud the California legislature and Governor Jerry Brown for taking action to make it harder to expand oil drilling off the coast. We’ll continue to support proactive measures like this to prevent an ecological disaster in San Francisco Bay.
Photo: An oil rig off the coast of Southern California, near Santa Barbara (Wikimedia Commons).