Controversial Drilling Plan on California Grasslands Re-Approved

by | May 17, 2020

The Bureau of Land Management re-approved a controversial drilling plan within the Carrizo Plain National Monument, near San Luis Obispo, Calif., the first new drilling project proposed since the monument was established in 2001. The plan was first approved in 2018, then reversed in 2019 after environmental groups appealed the decision. Now the BLM says the plan has been revised to adequately address environmental concerns. The proposed drilling would create a new well on an existing well pad. Environmental groups and local legislators have decried the approval, including Republican assemblyman Jordan Cunningham, who said in a statement: “San Luis Obispo County and California does not want or need to open up our most precious pieces of open space for additional oil drilling. I am disappointed in the federal government’s decision, and urge them to reconsider.” Status: BLM released the decision on May 21, 2020.

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Amy Westervelt is the editor-in-chief of Drilled News, creator and host of the Drilled podcast, and founder of the Critical Frequency podcast network, named AdWeek's Podcast Network of the Year in 2019. An award-winning print and audio journalist, Amy has contributed to The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, as well as KQED, The California Report, Capital Public Radio, and many other outlets. She is the 2015 winner of the Rachel Carson award for "women greening journalism," and a 2016 winner of an Edward R. Murrow award for her series on the impacts of the Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada. In 2019, the Drilled podcast won the Online News Association's "Excellence in Audio Storytelling" award.

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Emily J. Gertz is senior editor of Drilled News. A longtime environmental reporter and editor, her work has appeared in HuffPost, Reveal, Arctic Today, The Guardian, Popular Science, Scientific American, Sierra, and more.