Oct 5, 2019

Trump admin opens 720,000 acres of land in California for oil drilling

Oil rig pump jacks work the oil fields near the town of Maricopa, Calif. in March 2013. Photo: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced on Friday plans to open about 720,000 acres of land in California’s central coast to oil and gas lease sales.

Why it matters: New federal land has not been freed up for fossil fuel extraction in the region since at least 2013, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Environmentalists say new oil rigs will hurt California's land and water and contribute to climate change. However, the Interior Department claims the expansion will help ensure the U.S. achieves energy independence and economic growth.

  • Some environmentalists are threatening to go to court over this decision.
  • BLM says, "The decision does not authorize any actual drilling for exploration or development of oil and gas resources."

Flashback: Two conservation groups sued the Interior Department nearly 6 years ago for failing to consider at the environmental impacts of fracking, per the Chronicle.

Details: Friday's decision immediately green-lights 14 drilling leases in San Benito, Monterey and Fresno counties. Each of those projects has been long-desired by fossil fuel companies interested in expanding, writes the Chronicle.

  • In total, the decision to move forward with the leasing plan makes 11 counties available for energy development.As a result, BLM officials estimate as many as 37 new oil and gas wells will be developed over the next 20 years.
  • Between state and private lands in the area, the region already has more than 18,000 wells, according to federal figures the Chronicle cited.
  • In a press release, BLM said it plans to support "recovery of threatened and endangered plants and animals."
  • There will not be any leases on designated BLM wilderness.

Thought bubble per Axios' Amy Harder: This is sure to further inflame already tense relations between the Trump administration and California, which are already fighting over the state’s ability to issue tougher fuel efficiency standards.

Go deeper: How the U.S. oil boom echoes through the economy

Go deeper

Biden formally secures Democratic presidential nomination

Joe Biden speaks at Delaware State University's student cente on June 5. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden became the formal Democratic presidential nominee on Friday evening, per AP.

The big picture: Biden has been the presumptive frontrunner to take on President Trump since Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign in early April.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 6,724.516 — Total deaths: 394,018 — Total recoveries — 2,996,832Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 1,894,753 — Total deaths: 109,042 — Total recoveries: 491,706 — Total tested: 19,231,444Map.
  3. Public health: WHCA president says White House violated social-distancing guidelines to make reporters "a prop" — Jailing practices contribute to spread.
  4. Sports: How coronavirus could reshuffle the sports calendar.
  5. Jobs: Better-than-expected jobs report boosts stock market.
  6. Media: The Athletic lays off 8% of staff, implements company-wide pay cut.

Scoop: German foreign minister to travel to Israel with warning on annexation

Heiko Maas. Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is expected to travel to Israel next week to warn that there will be consequences if Israeli leaders move forward with plans to annex parts of the West Bank, Israeli officials and European diplomats tell me.

Why it matters: Israeli and European officials agree that if Israel goes ahead with unilateral annexation, the EU will respond with sanctions.