Environment / Nature

Congressman Panetta introduces bill to prohibit new drilling on Central Coast

California Central Coast Conservation Act to require BLM to assess impacts of oil and gas drilling.

Information provided by the Office of Congressman Jimmy Panetta.

On Dec. 4, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) introduced the California Central Coast Conservation Act, which works to establish a moratorium on all new oil and gas leasing on federal public land in the region.

According to a recent release, the legislation is in direct response to the presidential administration’s recent decision to allow for new oil and gas leasing and development on over 720,000 acres of public land in Central California, primarily in Fresno, Monterey, and San Benito counties.

The release said the bill prohibits the Bureau of Land Management from implementing the decision until it completes and publishes a supplemental environmental impact statement assessing the impacts of oil and gas drilling on the Central Coast. Specifically, the review must consider potential impacts on air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, groundwater, surface water, seismicity, wildlife and plant species, low-income communities, communities of color, and indigenous communities. If the assessment identifies adverse environmental impacts, the administration’s decision cannot proceed.

“Until the BLM completes a detailed analysis of the harmful impacts new oil and gas drilling will have on our pristine environment, the agency should not proceed,” Panetta said. “The Administration’s decision threatens not just the environment, but also the economy and our communities on the Central Coast. I will continue to fight against resource exploitation on our public lands and promote investments in green, sustainable energy solutions.”

The legislation is endorsed by the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity, who are also challenging the presidential administration’s decision in federal district court.

Original cosponsors of the California Central Coast Conservation Act include Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Congressman Jared Huffman (CA-02), Congressman Mike Levin (CA-49), Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (CA-32), Congressman Salud Carbajal (CA-24), Congressman Mark Takano (CA-41), Congressman Gil Cisneros (CA-39), Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (CA-18), Congressman Ro Khanna (CA-17), Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Congressman Lou Correa (CA-46), Congressman Juan Vargas (CA-51), Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), and Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52).


BenitoLink Staff