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Rep. Jimmy Panetta reintroduces bill to prohibit new oil and gas leasing on Central Coast

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Rep. Jimmy Panetta

CENTRAL COAST, Calif. (KION) -- Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley) reintroduced the California Central Coast Conversation Act. The bill establishes a moratorium on all new gas and oil leasing on federal public land on the Central Coast.

Rep. Panetta introduced the legislation for the first time in December 2019 in response to the Trump Administration's move to allow for new oil and gas leasing and development on over 720,000 acres of public land. The decision directly impacted land in Fresno, Monterey, and San Benito counties.

The reintroduction of the legislation forbids the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from applying the decision until it completes and publishes a supplemental environmental impact statement regarding the impacts of oil and gas drilling.

BLM is being asked to include the following in the statement: potential impacts on air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, groundwater, surface water, seismicity, wildlife and plant species, low-income communities, communities of color, and indigenous communities.

If the assessment identifies adverse impacts to the environment, then the Trump Administration's decision cannot be implemented.

According to Rep. Panetta, the Biden-Harris Administration has made their commitment clear of reversing dangerous Trump Administration policies that have threatened public lands.

In a statement, Rep. Panetta said, "As a federal legislator, I strive to make decisions based on evidence and I expect federal agencies to do the same.  Until the BLM completes a detailed analysis of the harmful impacts new oil and gas drilling will have on our pristine environment, the agency should not be able to proceed... I look forward to working with the Biden Administration to reverse the previous administration’s threats to not just the environment, but also the economy and our way of life on the Central Coast.”

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Carina Nocon


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