Capitol Alert

Zinke promises Brown he'll listen to California on offshore oil drilling

A line of offshore oil rigs stand in the Santa Barbara Channel. The Trump administration proposes to open the California coast to oil exploration.
A line of offshore oil rigs stand in the Santa Barbara Channel. The Trump administration proposes to open the California coast to oil exploration. Los Angeles Times

The Trump administration promised Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday that it will listen to California's objections to its plans to dramatically expand offshore oil and natural gas drilling.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, traveling to Sacramento for a private meeting at the Capitol, "made it clear that California's views will be taken into account," Brown's press secretary Evan Westrup said in an email.

Westrup said the meeting followed up on a 20-minute phone call the two had in January, during which Brown "asked for the same consideration Florida recently received."

After hearing Florida Gov. Rick Scott's protests, Zinke exempted the state from the planned offshore drilling expansion.

The Trump administration announced Jan. 4 it wanted to expand drilling in the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico and off the Alaska coast. Environmentalists and Brown's administration immediately vowed to fight the proposal. Some critics of the Trump administration have said Zinke's quick decision to exempt Florida was rooted in politics; Scott is a Republican and Florida voted for Trump in the 2016 election. By contrast, the Brown administration has fought Trump on a variety of issues, including the environment and immigration.

Offshore drilling accounts for less than 1 percent of California's oil production but remains a sensitive topic in the wake of the disastrous 1969 oil spill off the shore of Santa Barbara.







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