California offshore drilling could be expanded for the first time since 1984 under federal leasing proposal

The Trump administration, inviting a political backlash from coastal state leaders, on Thursday proposed to open for exploration the largest expanse of the nation’s offshore oil and natural gas reserves ever offered to global energy companies, including waters off the coast of California.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said the draft five-year leasing plan would commit 90% of the nation’s offshore reserves to leasing, including areas off all three regions of the California coast that have been off-limits to oil and gas exploration since the Reagan administration.

The draft plan, now subject to review and debate, would allow the first new federal lease sales off California since 1984. It sparked immediate fury from Democratic leaders up and down the West Coast.

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