On Thursday, the Trump administration pushed forward a plan to open up more than a million acres of public lands to fracking and drilling in eight counties of Central California.
The Bureau of Land Management finalized the plan, which ends a federal moratorium on offering new leases in the state. The move follows a similar October ruling to open up nearly 800,000 acres for gas and oil extraction in parts of the Central Coast as well as land in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, although the likelihood of new production there is slim.
Thursday's action further inflamed tensions between the federal government, which is barreling ahead with policies to expand domestic oil and gas production, and California and environmentalists, who want to scale back fossil fuel extraction. The state is pursuing increased oversight of fracking, for instance, recently moving to review its permitting process for drilling and passing a moratorium on some types of high-pressure well injections.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra immediately criticized the Trump administration’s plan, calling it “patently deficient.”
Last June, the state’s top attorney challenged a draft of the plan, arguing that officials failed to analyze how new drilling could harm residents and the environment.