The federal government has opened 722,000 acres of land to new leases for oil and gas drilling across the Central Coast of California.
The Bureau of Land Management’s decision is the latest example of the Trump administration’s push to expand domestic fracking and oil production, and it opens up parts of the Bay Area, including Alameda and Contra Costa counties, for potential drilling -- although the likelihood of new production there is slim.
Still, environmental groups said the decision flies in the face of local opposition, and they decried it as reckless, promising to sue.
“Turning over these spectacular wild places to dirty drilling and fracking will sicken Californians, harm endangered species and fuel climate chaos,” said Clare Lakewood, a senior attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, in a statement.
For many years, dating back to the Obama administration, the Interior Department, which oversees the bureau, has sought a new oil and gas leasing plan for the Central Coast of California.