Energy

Enviros Attack Gov. Brown After He Banned Offshore Drilling. Why? They Want Him to Nix All Fossil Fuels

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Chris White Tech Reporter

California Gov. Jerry Brown’s decision to ban offshore oil drilling ahead of the Democrat’s major climate summit was not enough to appease activists who want the state to nix fossil fuels entirely.

Environmentalists are prodding Brown to take his prohibition of new oil development on public lands several steps further. Bill McKibben, the co-founder of 350.org, joined a handful of other activists to criticize the outgoing Democratic governor for okaying other forms of oil production.

“It looks like Brown wants to keep Trump from drilling California, so he can do itself. Today’s announcement is incredibly ironic since Brown has refused every effort by hundreds of community groups to get him to slow the pace of new permits for oil wells,” McKibben wrote in a press statement Saturday. (RELATED: ‘Not Here, Not Now’: Gov. Brown Signs Bill Blocking Trump’s Offshore Drilling Plan)

His comments came as thousands of activists participated in marches around the world Saturday, calling on their governments to end fossil fuel production and embrace renewable energy. The march was dubbed the “Rise for Climate” movement, one designed to poke and prod governments to end the oil industry.

The rally in San Francisco came less than a week before the city and Brown prepares to host the Global Climate Action Summit, which is being spearheaded in part by the United Nations. Brown’s climate summit and his decision to sign legislation prohibiting drilling off the coast is not appeasing 350.org activists.

“The Governor says ‘not here, not now,’ but he’s permitted more than 20,000 new oil and gas wells up and down California during his tenure,” 350.org Executive Director May Boeve said in the joint statement with McKibben. “That’s more like drilling ‘everywhere, all the time.'”

Prominent anti-fracking activist Josh Fox made similar remarks in August. “Jerry Brown!!! You’re not a #climate leader unless you STOP OIL DRILLING AND FRACKING IN CALIFORNIA!!!!” he wrote in an Aug. 31 Twitter post. “Last Chance!!”

Nixing oil production completely in California would likely make the state more reliant on foreign fossil fuels. The state’s refineries received 56 percent of crude from foreign countries, according to California Energy Commission data.

Saudi Arabia supplies the bulk of California’s oil imports, with up to 29 percent of foreign crude flowing into the state. More than 70 percent of foreign oil imports to the state come from OPEC members, including Iraq, Kuwait and Ecuador. Brown is undeterred.

He also submitted formal opposition to the Bureau of Land Management’s proposal to open new public land and mineral estates for oil and gas lease sales. His move comes nearly six months after officials on the California Coastal Commission urged the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to rescind plans allowing companies to drill for oil off the coast.

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