Federal Oil Exploration Threatens Santa Cruz Land

Jennifer Hodges
January 17, 2020 - 5:06 pm
isitors enjoy the beach below West Cliff Drive on July 29, 2007 in Santa Cruz.

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The Bureau of Land Management wants to open up more than 300 acres of land in Santa Cruz County to oil and gas exploration, but local government is fighting back. 

“Santa Cruz County has been vigilant in making sure that when the federal government talks about oil development, they don’t talk about it here in Santa Cruz,” said Santa Cruz County Supervisor John Leopold. 

County officials have taken action before, outlawing fracking, offshore oil drilling and developing oil facilities. Now, the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors has voted to join a lawsuit to try and stop the BLM, originally filed by the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity. 

Environmentalists are concerned by the impact that drilling would have. 

“The big thing that people are concerned about is if they do approve it and they do discover oil and they do drill for it and then they have a mistake and a problem and a blow out,” said Jim Holm, founder of Clean Oceans International. “And of course, those are legendary environmental disasters.”

In total, the BLM wants to open up more than 725,000 acres of land along the Central Coast and in the Bay Area to oil and gas exploration.