Why is California still drilling for oil despite its ambitious climate goals?
The latest oil spill off Southern California is a reminder that fossil fuels threaten coasts, delicate wetlands, and human health.
An underwater pipeline leaking off Southern California for several days has blanketed miles of the coast in sticky oil. Already, the crude has infiltrated a critical coastal wetland habitat in Huntington Beach and is making its way south as winds and waves disperse the toxic goo.
California has some of the most ambitious climate goals in the United States—it’s aiming for net-zero emissions by 2045, five years earlier than the federal goals—and boasts some of the strongest environmental protection rules in the country. Yet California is still a fossil fuel powerhouse, and oil spills are not a new phenomenon along the coast. Despite its green reputation, counting offshore and onshore drilling, California is the seventh largest source of fossil fuels in