Information provided by the Office of Assemblyman Robert Rivas.
Assemblyman Robert Rivas held a press conference on Monday, May 13 in Salinas where he asked Governor Gavin Newsom to contest a proposed increase of oil and gas exploration on approximately 725,000 acres of public land. Rivas has officially requested that the Governor file a protest, since the plans are inconsistent with state and local laws, a press release said.
“This is not a Republican or Democratic issue. Fighting this destructive plan is the right thing to do to protect our health and our future,” said Rivas. “This move by the President was void of research or community input. That’s why I’m calling on the Governor to use his power to review the proposal and highlight how this plan takes us backwards and how it is out of touch with the will of the people. It is entirely inconsistent with state and local law.”
On May 9, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Central Coast Field Office released a proposed resource management plan amendment and final environmental impact statement for oil and gas leasing and development primarily located in Fresno, Monterey and San Benito counties that could affect approximately 800,000 acres of Federal mineral estate managed by the local BLM office.
BLM regulations provide a 60-day window for Governor Newsom to review the plan and provide recommendations.
Information about the proposal, along with the agency-preferred alternative and instructions for filing a protest is available online. Formal public protest pertaining to the analysis presented in the proposed plan and final environmental impact statement will be accepted for 30 calendar days following publication of the NOA in the Federal Register which took place on May 10. Pending the outcome of the protest period and governor’s consistency review, the BLM will issue a Record of Decision.
“The Trump Administration’s call to drill in vast areas of our community is a direct assault on our vital agricultural economy," Rivas said. "The unlawful action will also destroy local tourism – which could imperil thousands of our local small business owners.
“This attack on our communities is a distraction from the pressing issues we are all working to solve, like our farmworker housing shortage, the growing homelessness crisis, and the urgent need to improve our public education system."
“I want our area to continue to be known as the Salad Bowl Capital of the World – not the oil drilling capital. Together our farmers and our farmworkers feed the entire nation.
“We are home to Pinnacles National Park, to Big Sur, and Monterey. We have so much to be proud of here in the Monterey Bay region. I want us to be known for protecting our environment for future generations. I urge all residents to join me to stand up for what is right.”
Rivas' district staff can be contacted for questions or assistance at (831) 759-8676. His full statement from the May 13 press conference can be read below.
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