West Coast
California DF&W

CA - State Senator Dave Min Introduces Bill to End Offshore Oil Drilling in California Waters

SACRAMENTO, CA — While California officials and major media continue to claim the state is the nation’s “green leader,” offshore oil and gas drilling proceeds in state and federal waters off the Southern California Coast.

There has been a moratorium on the approval of new leases off the coast of California for the past 40 years, but oil production has continued and hundreds of new and reworked permits have been approved under the Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom administrations under existing leases first issued in the 1960s and 1970s.

As a result, large oil spills like the Refugio Beach Oil Spill of 2015 and the Huntington Beach oil spill of 2021 have periodically fouled California waters and killed and injured fish and wildlife.

To change this situation, Senator Dave Min today announced the introduction of SB 559, legislation that would end offshore oil drilling under existing leases in California state waters. Currently there are three offshore platforms producing oil in state waters and 27 platforms in federal waters. State waters are those with within 3 miles from shore, while federal waters are those outside of the 3 mile line.

Senator Min in February 2022 introduced a similar bill, Senate Bill 953, that would have ended all drilling in California state waters by the end of 2023, but a gusher of millions of dollars of oil industry lobbying money into the Legislature, combined with Big Oil campaign contributors to oil industry-friendly legislators, prevented the bill from getting out of committee.

SB 559 would require that the State Lands Commission “negotiate in good faith with oil and gas producers to bring about shared agreements that would voluntarily relinquish all leases under state jurisdiction by December 31, 2025.”

“If a relinquishment agreement is not made by this date, SB 559 would require the Commission to terminate these leases and cease production of oil at the state’s three remaining platforms that operate off the Coast of Orange County,” according to a statement from Senator Min’s Office.

“After the 2021 oil spill off the coast of Huntington Beach, I promised I would fight to end offshore drilling once and for all,” said Min. “Today, I am proud to say that I am continuing to try and keep that promise, Offshore drilling threatens our vibrant marine ecosystems and the nearly $2 trillion a year generated by our coastal economy.”

“The meager benefits of offshore oil production do not justify the enormous risks they pose to our coastal communities. SB 559 offers a thoughtful, measured approach that will end offshore drilling in state waters once and for all,” Min argued.

The October 2021 oil spill off the coast of Huntington Beach discharged at least 25,000 gallons of crude over a radius that stretched 750 miles south to the Mexican Border.

The total cost incurred by the State of California for cleanup is $2,813,205, according to the Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR). In addition to response costs, OSPR has incurred $288,644 in ongoing Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration costs.

SB 559 will impact three offshore oil and gas platforms: Eva, Emmy, and Ester. Platforms Eva and Emmy are located in Huntington Beach, while Ester is located off Seal Beach.

“These three platforms, which were constructed between 1963 and 1985, have lasted beyond their intended lifespan and pose a threat to our marine ecosystems, coastal communities, and the state’s $2 trillion coastal economy," said Min.  

According to CalGEM, there are 42 active wells on Platform Eva, 30 active wells on Platform Esther and 44 active well on Platform Emmy. This number does not include wells that have been properly plugged and abandoned.

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