On Thursday, the Trump administration proceeded with its proposal to strike down regulations protecting hundreds of thousands of acres on the California Central Coast, The Hill reports.
The efforts to permit oil and gas drilling come despite fierce pushback from California Democratic officials, who wholeheartedly oppose the plan.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published the final version of its plan, one of the manifestations of the Trump administration’s “energy independence” stance, on Thursday. It would give oil and gas drilling companies the ability to operate in 725,000 new acres of land, spanning 11 Californian counties including Monterey, Fresno, and Santa Cruz.
The BLM praised the plan as a positive effort to strengthen U.S. energy production and independence.
“Sustainable development of oil and gas resources is a key component of the BLM’s multiple use and sustained yield mission," reads BLM’s Proposed Resource Management Plan Amendment and Final Environmental Impact Statement.
"In keeping with the Administration’s goal of strengthening America’s energy independence, the BLM supports an all-of-the-above energy plan that includes oil and gas, coal, strategic minerals, and renewable sources such as wind, geothermal, and solar – all of which can be developed on public lands.”
The plan projects the creation of up to 32 new oil and gas development well sites on federal property during the lifetime of the plan. But the fossil fuel initiative is in complete contrast to California's push for clean energy and state Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) slammed the federal proposal.
“In California, we're already well on our way to energy independence and we're doing it in the smart way. This is 2019, not 1920. We don't need to jeopardize our health or our environment to develop the energy sources we need,” he said in a statement.
Disapproval for Trump has remained strong in California ever since his election, and according to global technology company Morning Consult, it is currently the state with the lowest net approval rating of Trump at -29 percent.