Air Force considering tapping oil offshore from Vandenberg
July 22, 2013
The U.S. Air Force is considering leasing portions of Vandenberg Air Force Base to private oil companies for extraction of offshore oil and gas with land-based drills. [LATimes]
If approved, it will be the first new offshore lease in state waters since the 1960s. The lease will permit Sunset Exploration and Exxon Mobil to use “slant drilling” technology to reach offshore deposits.
In a written statement, the Air Force said it plans to study if the proposed drilling is compatible with the base’s space and satellite-launching missions.
Environmental groups opposed to the lease argue that land-based drilling can pose the same risks to marine life as offshore operations.
“We have tremendous concerns about their proposal,” said Linda Krop, chief counsel for the Santa Barbara-based Environmental Defense Center to the LA Times. “This would be a new oil drilling project along a very biologically rich and sensitive area of the California coast. It would threaten migrating whales and other important species with oil spills and other impacts that result from offshore oil drilling.”
Proponents of the project say that the drilling would avoid the ocean environment because the drill bits would be one-half mile below the seafloor.