Trump's Drilling Attack on California Public Lands
The Trump administration is waging an assault on our climate, hellbent on handing over public lands across the country to fossil fuel CEOs. This “drill, baby, drill” agenda flies in the face of science showing that any new fossil fuel development is incompatible with averting catastrophic climate change.
In California the ravages of climate inaction and continued oil production already hit close to home. Toxic air. Poisoned water. Raging fires. Rising seas. Deadly drought. And now Trump is threatening to reopen millions of acres of public land and mineral estate to oil drilling and fracking. This destructive move would break a more than five-year-old moratorium on leasing federal public lands in California to oil companies, the result of our hard-fought legal victories.
Due to the fracking boom, the United States is now on track to account for 60 percent of the world’s projected growth in oil and gas production, and the fact is that our carbon budget is already overspent.  There’s simply no room for new fossil fuel extraction if the world is to keep global temperatures in line with Paris climate goals. Carbon emissions from reserves in the world’s already developed oil and gas fields alone would take the world beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming and result in climate catastrophe.
Carbon Dioxide Emissions From Developed Fossil Fuel Reserves, Compared to Carbon Budgets (as of Jan. 2018) Within Range of the Paris Goals 
To ensure a livable climate and protect communities, ecosystems and wildlife species — from California condors to San Joaquin kit foxes — we must stop new oil and gas drilling in California. The state needs to commit to a plan to phase out existing operations as quickly as possible.
We must prevent Trump from lifting the moratorium and opening millions of acres of California’s federal public lands to dangerous drilling.
We must block Trump’s oil attack on California’s federal public lands to avert climate chaos and raise the national bar for climate leadership where it needs to be — keeping fossil fuels in the ground.
Together with allies we’ve used legal challenges to block oil and gas leasing on California’s federal public lands since 2013. If need be, you can be sure, we will sue over any Trump decision to reopen leasing.
As part of our national push to keep it in the ground, we hope to make California the first place to end federal leasing for good.
That’s why we’re calling on California’s communities and state and local leaders to throw their weight with us against Trump’s dangerous assault on our communities, wildlife and climate.
Trump’s Drilling Attack
Trump has taken aim at two regions that account for a huge part of the state’s public lands and federal mineral rights:
- Trump’s Bureau of Land Management is finalizing a decision that could open around 400,000 acres of public land and mineral estate to new oil and gas leasing in several Central California counties, including Monterey and San Benito.
- Meanwhile in August 2018 the Trump administration took the first step in a process that would extend the damage even farther, opening more than a million more acres of public land and mineral estate along California’s coast and in the Central Valley to drilling and fracking. The region covers 400,000 acres of public land and an additional 1.2 million acres of federal mineral estate in Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Ventura counties.
Map of Affected Areas
1. Trout, Kelly, Drilling Toward Disaster: Why U.S. Oil and Gas Expansion is Incompatible with Climate Limits, Oil Change International (2019), http://priceofoil.org/2019/01/16/report-drilling-towards-disaster.
2. Trout, Drilling Toward Disaster, p. 5.