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California’s Coast Bracing Itself For Drilling

by Alan Harten
December 30, 2008

America’s Federal Government may well be opening the way for oil companies to start drilling just off California’s famous beaches and coastline, it has emerged.

Previously banned from even surveying the area, oil companies are now likely to be researching the Californian coastline with renewed vigour.

The 1981 legislation, banning oil companies from using California as an area to drill for oil, was allowed to lapse this year.

Conservative estimates put nearly 10 billion barrels of oil under the American state’s waters, enough to power the country’s oil needs for 17 months single handedly.

This is based on survey work carried out in the 1970s before such action was ruled illegal by congress.

However, due to the positioning of the oil on the narrow continental shelf, any drilling work is likely to be close to the coastline, something that has environmentalists up in arms.

California is famous for its large marine population.

With whales using its waters on migration routes, crabs using the sea beds as a feeding ground, as well as millions of sea birds and fish, some environment experts are warning of the ecological damage that could be done.

Previously, feeling within California was on the side of such environmentalists.

In 1969, 3 million gallons of oil were pumped into the bay off Santa Barbara in an accident that decimated the wildlife population and caused some far reaching ecological problems.

However, since then the rising price of oil, and the increased reliance on it by the western world, has seen people starting to change their minds.

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