Mount Diablo State Park Could Be Opened For Drilling Under Federal Proposal

The peak of Mount Diablo seen from Morgan Territory Regional Park.
Photo credit Getty Images

The Trump administration has proposed opening new stretches of Bay Area land to oil and gas exploration

The Bureau of Land Management areas that could be opened to drilling includes land in and near Mount Diablo State Park in Walnut Cree and tracts near Pescadero on the San Mateo County coast. 

"It just unleashes the potential for oil and gas development through the East Bay and down through the Central Coast," said Claire Lakewood, a senior attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity. 

The opening of BLM land attracts energy companies, she said. 

BLM officials, however, expect oil and gas companies to shoot for areas around Fresno and Monterey counties where fossil fuels have previously been discovered. 

"Generally, our prediction is that the oil and gas companies are interested in developing in areas that have already been developed in the past," said Ben Blum, who works in the bureau's Central California region. 

It is cheaper to drill in established locations, but that's not a comfort to Lakewood. 

"People can certainly let the Bureau of Land Management know that they're opposed to this giveaway to the fossil fuel industry," said Lakewood. "We're sincerely hoping that the governor will get involved."

Gov. Newsom has 60 days to review the newly released environmental impact statement, which was court-ordered.

Because of a lawsuit, the BLM hasn't leased new land since 2012.