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Weighing the environmental impact of new offshore oil and gas drilling in California

An offshore oil drilling platform off the coast of Santa Barbara, Calif.
An offshore oil drilling platform off the coast of Santa Barbara, Calif.
Chris Carlson/AP

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President Trump signed an executive order last week which could give the green light to new oil and gas drilling in the Pacific, Arctic and Atlantic Oceans.

As reported by the Los Angeles Times, this would potentially include California offshore drilling, a topic that’s sparked opposition from state leaders including Gov. Jerry Brown, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. In addition, the order could reverse an Obama Administration environmental plan to exclude any new drilling leases off the California and Alaska coast until 2022.

With an uphill political and legal battle ahead, how will Trump’s plan pan out, and what are the environmental risks?


Rock Zierman, chief executive officer of the California Independent Petroleum Association (CIPA), a nonprofit trade association representing about 500 independent crude oil and natural gas agencies companies operating in California; CIPA members represent approximately 70% of total oil production and 90% of  natural gas production in the state

David Helvarg, executive director of Blue Frontier, an ocean conservation and policy group; he is the author of the book, “The Golden Shore: California’s Love Affair with the Sea;” he tweets @Helvarg