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Last day for public input on federal plan to expand offshore oil drilling

The platform Holly off the Santa Barbara coast.

March 9 is the last day to publicly comment on the Trump Administration's intent to open up the California coast to oil and gas exploration. The deadline is nine p.m. Pacific time.  

Last April, Trump signed an executive order directing interior secretary Ryan Zinke to look at changing the current federal plan, which bars new lease sales for oil and gas exploration through 2022. The Trump Administration plans to allow the sale of two leases of northern California, two off the Central Coast and two off southern California.

It states the new plan would allow for quote "unprecedented increases in access" to 98 percent of the Outer Continental Shelf, and would see oil companies moving into many areas of Alaska and along the Pacific Coast.

Many on the Central Coast are opposed to the plan. Monterey County congressman Jimmy Panetta says he's heard from numerous constituents against offshore drilling. Congressman Salud Carbajal held a rally in late February in San Luis Obispo protesting the Trump plan. City councils and county boards across California have passed resolutions opposing offshore drilling due to environmental concerns. And economic concerns, should the exploration lead to oil spills. According to the Monterey non-profit Oceana, over one hundred seventy municipalities on the east and west coasts have formally declared opposition.

Supervisors in Monterey County and Santa Barbara passed opposition resolutions. San Luis Obispo County supervisors Debbie Arnold and Lynn Compton declined to support a February motion by supervisor Bruce Gibson to also pass an opposition statement. The remaining two supervisors did not participate in that discussion.

Click here to comment on the revised draft proposed Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program.

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