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Gov. Brown calls Trump official to say: No drilling off CA

LONG BEACH, CA - JULY 16:  A rare and endangered blue whale, one of at least four feeding 11 miles off Long Beach Harbor in the Catalina Channel, spouts near offshore oil rigs after a long dive on July 16, 2008 near Long Beach, California. In decades past, blue whales were rarely seen anywhere along California's coastline but their migration and feeding patterns are changing. In the past four years sightings in southern California have increased dramatically and blue whales have been reported almost daily this summer. Scientists suspect that climate change is having an effect on the food of the blues but other factors are have not been ruled out.  Before whalers stepped up their kill rate in the 1800s, there were at least 220,000 to 300,000 around the world. Today less than 11,000 survive worldwide with 1,200 to 2,000 in the Pacific waters off California. Blue whales are the largest animals on the planet, growing up to 110 feet long and reaching a weight of 200 tons with hearts the size of a Honda Civic automobile and arteries large enough for a child to crawl through. The US Navy uses loud sonar blasts in submarine detection training exercises off Southern California that can harm or kill whales at great distances, a controversial issue that has reached the US Supreme Court, and the high price of gas has increased political pressure to increase oil drilling in the waters where the whales live.   (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
David McNew/Getty Images
A rare and endangered blue whale spouts near offshore oil rigs after a long dive on July 16, 2008 near Long Beach, California.

Gov. Jerry Brown urged  U.S. Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke to spare California’s coastline from offshore drilling in a phone call on Friday. The two men spoke a week after the federal agency decided to open the Pacific coast to drilling for the first time in more than 30 years.

Many other coastal states were included in Secretary Ryan Zinke’s offshore drilling plan, including Florida. But on Tuesday, Zinke announced he was removing Florida to protect the state’s coast and tourism industry. Zinke made the exemption at the urging of Florida's Republican governor, Rick Scott.

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In a statement posted on Twitter, Zinke said he was sparing Florida because “local voice matters” and because its coasts are “heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver.” The statement prompted outrage from California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra, who questioned how California was any different. “If that’s your standard, we, too, should be removed from your list. Immediately.”

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On Friday, Gov. Brown spoke with Secretary Zinke for 20 minutes and urged him to treat California the same as Florida.

According to a spokesman, Brown told Zinke his proposal to allow federal leases for offshore drilling directly contradicts California’s commitment to fight climate change. And it goes against the wishes of nearly 70 percent of Californians who oppose offshore drilling.

Drilling has been formally banned in California’s state waters, those three miles from shore, since 1994, and no new leases have been offered since the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill. The last  lease auction for federal waters was in 1984.

Gov. Brown’s phone call was one of many that Secretary Zinke reportedly has had with governors of other coastal states since his decision to remove Florida from the drilling plan. The Department of Interior did not respond to a request for comment on whether  Zinke will change his mind. 

The drilling plan is open for public comment until March 9, and there will be a public meeting in Sacramento on February 8.