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Stanford law and water quality experts discuss possible expansion of offshore oil drilling operations

Stanford law and water quality experts discuss possible expansion of offshore oil drilling operations

If federal plans move forward, most U.S. coastal waters would be open to offshore oil drilling. Stanford Professors Deborah Sivas and Alexandria Boehm look at related legal and marine issues from the perspective of the California coastline, which has been protected from new drilling since 1969.
March 12, 2018

The federal government has made clear its intention to open U.S. coastal waters to offshore drilling, but Californians beg to differ. Like Florida – alone among coastal states in receiving an exemption to the drilling plan – California relies on its iconic coastline for economic stimulus, recreation and other cherished values.

After a large oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara in 1969, California stopped leasing state-controlled offshore tracts for drilling. Although California cannot legally shut down current offshore oil operations or control waters more than 3 miles off the coast, the state may have options to block an expansion of drilling. In the meantime, the public comment period for the federal plan ends March 9.

Stanford Report spoke with coastal water quality expert Alexandria Boehm and environmental law expert Deborah Sivas to get their perspectives on the value of California’s coastal environment, the risks policymakers should consider as they evaluate areas for offshore drilling and other related issues. Boehm and Sivas co-teach California Coast: Science, Policy and Law, which usually draws students from legal, scientific and engineering disciplines. The class introduces graduate and undergraduate students to scientists, policymakers and other stakeholders to better understand public and private decision making around coastal issues such as ocean acidification and stormwater discharge to the sea. 

 

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