Jan. 03–HAYWARD — Hayward has come out against the Trump administration’s plans to allow new oil and gas drilling off the California coast, saying it could undermine the city’s regional shoreline.
Approximately 75 California cities or counties have passed resolutions opposing expansion of drilling along the coast, a move that the administration announced in January last year as part of allowing drilling in nearly all United States coastal waters.
Giving energy companies access to areas where they can secure leases to carry out offshore drilling will create jobs and help make the country more energy self-sufficient, according to supporters.
But opponents say the move will contribute to climate change and sea level rise, which will threaten the Bay Area environment.
“Maybe we don’t have an ocean coastline, but we are on a bay and it’s very much effected by what’s happening in the ocean,” Mayor Barbara Halliday said Dec. 18, when the City Council unanimously adopted a resolution against offshore drilling.
The Berkeley City Council approved a resolution opposing new drilling off the coast in September 2017. Oakland passed a similar resolution the following month.
Other cities that have passed resolutions include San Francisco, Lon Angeles and San Diego.
City Manager Kelly McAdoo told Hayward officials in a background report that expanding offshore drilling and fracking would undermine the goals laid out in the city’s General Plan to preserve and enhance local bay lands, trails and parks.
“The rising of the bay waters may result in complete inundation of the Hayward regional shoreline and the resources it contains, like the San Francisco Bay Trail and the Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center,” McAdoo said.
No council member, outside of the mayor, publicly commented on the resolution.
City officials are now expected to forward the resolution to the city’s state and federal lobbyists, who in turn will distribute it to lawmakers who represent Hayward.
The Center for Biological Diversity, an Arizona-based non-profit, has been spearheading the drive to get California cities to oppose offshore drilling and fracking, starting with Santa Barbara in July 2017. The center contacted Hayward officials about a resolution in August.
California is the nation’s third-largest oil-producing state, behind Texas and North Dakota. Most of its oil is produced from inland wells, but there are 32 offshore platforms and artificial islands where oil is produced, all located in Southern California off the coasts of Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles and Orange counties.
They date back to the 1950s, and no new ones have been constructed in more than 30 years because of opposition from political leaders, conservation groups, and the tourism and fishing industries.
In 1992, former California Gov. Pete Wilson, a Republican, signed a law banning all new oil drilling in state waters out to three miles offshore. Drilling is also banned in national marine sanctuaries, such as Monterey Bay, Greater Farallones and Channel Islands.
But large areas in federal waters from three to 200 miles offshore that are not included in marine sanctuaries could be opened under the Trump administration’s efforts, which call for ocean areas off Northern California, Oregon and Washington to be leased to oil companies for new drilling starting in 2021 and off Southern California in 2020
In January last year, state lawmakers responded to the Trump administration’s action by approving a bill that bans the construction of new pipelines to get oil drilled offshore to land.
A Pew Research Center survey, also in January last year, found 51 percent of Americans oppose and 42 percent support allowing more offshore oil and gas drilling in U.S. waters.
People who live within 25 miles of the coast are less supportive of offshore drilling than those who live farther from a coast, and most Republicans favor it and most Democrats oppose it, according to the survey.
Staff writer Paul Rogers contributed to this report.
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