More than a dozen states oppose the Trump administration's proposal to open up nearly the entire U.S. coastline to offshore oil leasing. Federal officials will get public feedback on the plan in Sacramento on Thursday. The Interior Department says it takes local concerns into account — as happened in a recent controversial move with Florida — but states have no direct say, since the leasing would take place in federally controlled waters.
California thinks it may have found a way around. In fact, it's a strategy used the last time the West Coast was open for offshore oil drilling, in the 1980's, when President Reagan's Interior Secretary James Watt was leading the push.
"We have enough energy to meet America's needs for thousands of years," said Watt at the time, "if we will have a government that will allow for its reasonable development."
It was not welcome news for many coastal cities in California. They were still spooked by a 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, in which some three million gallons of oil leaked from an offshore drilling operation and coated local beaches.
"We had to respond in kind," recalls John Laird, who's now California's secretary of Natural Resources, but was then mayor of Santa Cruz, a small coastal city south of San Francisco.