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BLM Plan to Open 800,000 Acres of Federal Land in California to Oil and Gas Leasing

37 new oil and gas wells drilling on new California land leases over the next 20 years

By Katy Grimes, October 6, 2019 10:36 am

The oil and gas industry in California currently provides 368,000 jobs and more than $24 billion in tax revenues to the state, making this industry vital to the entire California economy.

The Trump administration Bureau of Land Management has finalized plans to open 800,000 acres of federal land in Central California to oil and gas leasing, primarily located in Fresno, Monterey and San Benito counties. This will allow oil and gas drilling to move forward in Alameda, Contra Costa, Fresno, Merced, Monterey, San Benito, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Stanislaus Counties, the Bureau of Land Management reports.

The oil and gas industry in California currently provides 368,000 jobs and more than $24 billion in tax revenues to the state, making this industry vital to the entire California economy.

The BLM plan is estimated to result in up to 37 new oil and gas wells drilling on new land leases over the next 20 years. The BLM estimates that the oil and gas industry on private and public lands directly supports approximately 3,000 jobs and $623 million dollars in tax revenue within Fresno, Monterey and San Benito counties.

This was not good news for everyone.

“Clare Lakewood, a senior attorney at the environmental group Center for Biological Diversity, called the decision on the Central California leasing proposal ‘reckless,’” the Sacramento Bee reports. “Turning over these spectacular wild places to dirty drilling and fracking will sicken Californians, harm endangered species and fuel climate chaos. We’ll fight tooth and nail to make sure it doesn’t happen,” Lakewood said in a statement.

For decades, the Center for Biological Diversity has exploited and abused the language of the Endangered Species Act to halt large scale projects. Funded by some of the largest left-wing mega-foundations in the US, including the Tides Foundation, Rockefeller Family Fund, and Pew Charitable Trusts, Center for Biological Diversity searches for endangered species, petitions for listing under the Endangered Species Act, then demand their “critical habitat” be shown as lines on a map of their making, LeftExposed.org reported.

“California won’t stand idly by while the Trump Administration pushes forward a project that endangers our communities and natural resources,” said Attorney General Xavier Becerra in June. “While President Trump might value a quick buck over the health and safety of the American people, that’s not how we do things in California. This unlawful half-baked proposal would hurt millions of Californians – we will fight to make sure it doesn’t move forward.”

California lawmakers are attempting their own preemptive strike on more oil and gas development with Assembly Bill 342 by Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance). “Specifically designed to thwart plans by the Trump administration to increase oil and gas production on federal land, AB 342 will make it illegal for pipelines to cross over state land,” California Globe reported. “As most federally protected areas, such as National Parks and Wilderness Areas, are adjacent to state-owned land, drilling could not occur in most areas. Language in the bill also specifically mentions that no leasing authority can allow pipelines on any public land, even in tidelands and submerged lands.”

This would join current California law forbidding pipeline use and drilling on state land and also likely halt federal overriding like the Grand Staircase National Monument in Utah being opened for mining over objections from the state of Utah earlier this year.”

In July, “Gov. Gavin Newsom has ordered the firing of California’s top oil regulator after environmental activists reported a recent spike in state fracking permits and allegations that senior officials within the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources own stock in petroleum companies they oversee,” Bakersfield.com reported. Critics of oil and gas industry (DOGGR) Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources object to “the agency’s longstanding practice of hiring from the ranks of California oil producers.”

These same critics are silent on the longstanding practice of the Public Utilities Commission hiring from the ranks of the state’s energy producers. “DOGGR defended the practice as the only way to meet increased staffing requirements while also putting in place employees with a working knowledge of technical oilfield matters.

Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot and Newsom’s chief of staff, Ann O’Leary, said the governor wanted State Oil and Gas Supervisor Ken Harris dismissed and an acting supervisor appointed. Remember, Wade Crowfoot was involved in California Gov. Brown’s climate compact with the Governors of Oregon and Washington and the British Columbia Premier, when they signed the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy, “to align climate change policies and promote clean energy.”

The Pacific Coast Collaborative was an illegal compact which linked with the West Coast Infrastructure Exchange (WCX), formed to promote “the type of new thinking necessary to solve the West Coast’s infrastructure crisis.” And the WCX was linked to the Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Global Initiative.

This scheme was made possible with funding from “major environmental donors,” billionaires Tom Steyer and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, according to Attorney Chris Horner.

“The Western States Petroleum Association, one of California’s leading oil trade groups, attributed the surge in fracking permits to the resolution of a bottleneck in the approval process.” Bakersfield.com has extensive detail about this.

The BLM reports about 26 million Federal acres were under lease to oil and gas developers at the end of Fiscal Year 2018. Of that, about 12.8 million acres are producing oil and gas in economic quantities. This activity came from over 96,000 wells on about 24,000 producing oil and gas leases.

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5 thoughts on “BLM Plan to Open 800,000 Acres of Federal Land in California to Oil and Gas Leasing

  1. I’m always for bipartisan and Conservative-Liberal alliances. I this is so horrible, can’t California align with Utah and support a rollback of the Grand Canyon Escalante and Bears Ears national monuments in exchange for utah supporting a transfer of California BLM title to the State Lands Commission?

    California used to hold title to Yosemite and most of our larger military bases, and in the war spirit, California transferred these to the Interior department and to the pre-Pentagon for $1 over a century ago. I don’t think anyone counted on the military not demobilizing when the wars ended – that would be logical.

    Also, after the whole Ken Harris fracking permit thing, I’m not sure Newsom is who people say he is. He’s just a naval intelligence mafia crook who throws out liberal sounding cutouts as a distraction from covering for white collar financial crime and doing the bidding of the Pentagon.

  2. I don’t trust Bloomberg and Steyer. Bloomberg especially – he let go of a bid on the World Trade Center with his company Varient which allowed Silverstein to sneak in and grab the lease – which turned into a giant insurance fraud, and Bloomberg Media reportedly fired anyone who turned in stories critical of the 9/11 official narrative. If Bloomberg was behind part of the mass murder of nearly 3000 Americans for what is effectively racketeering, then his interest in “helping” California through a corrupt “infrastructure exchange” certainly deserves skepticism. It strikes me as a “pump and dump” of California utility and energy ratepayers. That’s what we saw with Enron as well as the Paradise PG&E surcharge bailout – and the evidence those fires in 2018 were set by the Intelligence Community is overwhelming and incontrovertible if you are willing to look at it.

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