The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Blake Kopcho, (805) 708-3435,

Berkeley City Council Passes Resolution Against Offshore Fracking, Drilling

Trump Order to Expand Offshore Leasing Meeting Resistance in California


The Berkeley City Council last night approved a resolution opposing new drilling off the California coast and fracking in existing offshore oil and gas wells.

The vote follows President Trump's April 28 executive order urging federal agencies to expand oil and gas leasing in federal waters. Trump's order could expose the Pacific Ocean to new oil leasing for the first time in more than 30 years.

This week's resolution was sponsored by Berkeley City Councilman Kriss Worthington and supported by the Center for Biological Diversity, which has been organizing a series of California city resolutions opposing offshore drilling and fracking, starting with the Santa Barbara City Council's vote on July 25.

"The last thing Californians want is more drilling and fracking off our coast. Berkeley and other California cities are forming a wall of opposition to Trump's reckless agenda," said Blake Kopcho, an organizer with the Center. "Californians won't stand aside and let him endanger wildlife and our communities with oil spills and toxic fracking chemicals."

The Berkeley resolution calls for:

  • A ban on new drilling, fracking, and other well stimulation in federal and state waters off the California coast,
  • No new federal oil and gas leases in the Pacific, Atlantic, Arctic oceans and the eastern Gulf of Mexico -- areas currently protected from new leases; and
  • A rapid phase-out of all oil and gas extraction off the California coast on a schedule sufficient to respond to the climate crisis.

The last offshore lease in federal waters off California was in 1984, but Trump's order seeks to renew the leasing program. There are more than 30 offshore drilling platforms and hundreds of miles of underwater oil and gas pipelines off California's coast. Operators want permits to frack offshore wells, using chemicals toxic to wildlife.

Separate lawsuits filed by the State of California and the Center challenging the federal government's approval of offshore fracking are pending in federal district court.

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive.

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