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Central, South Coast Environmental Groups Relieved Over End Of Trump Administration

The Trump Administration wanted to open the Santa Barbara Channel to new oil and gas exploration, but failed to get its proposal through the process for consideration.

It’s been a rough four years for the environmental community on the Central and South Coasts.  Groups have found themselves having to prepare to refight some battles they thought they’d won years ago.  But, leaders are excited about the end of the Trump Administration, and the arrival of what they say will be a much more environmentally friendly Biden Administration.

One of the biggest concerns was the Trump Administration's push to reopen parts of the nation’s coastline, including the Central and South Coasts, to oil and gas exploration.

Linda Krop is Chief Counsel with the Santa Barbara-based Environmental Defense Center.  Krop and the EDC have been on the front lines of the battle against drilling off the coastline for decades.

She says it was frustating to have to prepare to do battle over things which had been in effect settled decades ago.  Krop says one of the jewels the Trump Administration was eyeing for development was the Santa Barbara Channel.

Krop says environmental groups had some unexpected help in the efforts to block the new oil and gas exploration efforts.  She says while the Trump Administration wanted to open up the coastline, it was slow and disorganized in its efforts.  

Krop says the Trump Administration ran out the clock, and wasn’t able to get its proposal reopen our coastline through the process for formal consideration.

But, other environmental groups say the Trump Administration made changes which are concerning. 

Rebecca August is with the environmental group Los Padres ForestWatch.  She says a number of rule changes open the door to more logging on federal land in the region.  And, more than a million acres of federal land was opened to the use of fracking for oil and gas extraction.

August says environmental groups are relieved and excited about the incoming Biden Administration.  She says they feel like not only will they not be having to re-fight past battles, they can get support for new protections.

Many in the environmental community think the new administration will be a powerful advocate for advancing efforts to phase out fossil fuel use, and to expand green energy like solar and wind power.

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