A bill designed to ban oil drilling in California waters has been killed by lawmakers.
Legislation to close down operations on offshore oil rigs off the Orange County coast failed to pass in a state Senate committee on Thursday. Senate Bill 953 was originally written to allow the State Lands Commission to terminate offshore oil leases by the end of 2024 if the agency was unable to negotiate buyouts with petroleum companies operating the oil platforms. The legislation focused on three oil leases in state waters adjacent to Orange County specifically, not 23 other oil rigs in federal waters along the rest of California’s coastline.
California Senator Dave Min first introduced the bill after an October oil spill in Huntington Beach dumped almost 25,000 gallons into the ocean. Investigators suspect it was caused by a cargo ship anchor that snagged an oil platform pipeline that stretched into the Port of Long Beach. “I will continue to explore all mechanisms and pathways to try to remove oil rigs off the coast of California,” Min said in a statement. “The aging infrastructure of these offshore platforms means they are ticking time bombs. Another oil spill — and all of the associated environmental and economic damage — is inevitable unless we act now.”
There are currently 11 active oil and gas leases in state waters along the California coast. During legislative hearings earlier this year on the Orange County oil spill, Jennifer Lucchesi, executive director of the State Lands Commission, said those leases have no end date and will continue as long as it is “economical” for the oil companies to continue production.