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Calif. governor signs legislation to block new offshore drilling

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Calif. governor signs legislation to block new offshore drilling

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Sept. 8 signed legislation to block new federal offshore oil drilling along California's coast.

California Senate Bill 834 and Assembly Bill 1775, which were passed by the Senate and Assembly, respectively, on Aug. 29, prohibit new leases for new construction of oil- and gas-related infrastructure, such as pipelines, within state waters if the federal government authorizes any new offshore oil leases.

The bills also require new public notices and processes for lease renewals, extension amendments or modifications to authorize new construction of oil- and gas-related infrastructure associated with new federal leases. There has been no federal expansion of oil and gas drilling along California's coastline for more than 30 years.

"Today, California's message to the Trump administration is simple: Not here, not now," Brown said. "We will not let the federal government pillage public lands and destroy our treasured coast."

Separately, in a Sept. 7 letter to the U.S. secretary of the interior, Brown's office submitted the state's formal opposition to the Bureau of Land Management's proposal to open new public land and mineral estates for oil and gas lease sales.

Given the understanding of the threat of climate change, "The Bureau's proposal to open up new areas of the state to oil and gas production demonstrates an ignorance of these critical developments, and is contrary to the course California has set to combat climate change and to meet its share of the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement," Brown said in the letter. "The Bureau should abandon this effort and not pursue opening any new areas for oil and gas leases in this state," he said.

Also on Sept. 8, Brown signed Assembly Bill 2864, which will improve the assessment of damage and restoration and mitigation measures after an oil spill affecting coastal resources.