Representatives from Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties, along with eight environmental agencies, requested strict deadlines to be imposed on 36 offshore oil and gas leases that were recently invalidated.

On Dec. 2, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Minerals Management Service failed to consult with the state of California regarding potential impacts from development of the leases and also failed to conduct an environmental review. Environmental and county representatives requested a March 14 deadline for compliance with federal law.

“Development of these leases poses an unacceptable risk to the California coastline and violates the legal requirement that the federal government must consider state and local impacts before approving or extending offshore oil leases,” said Linda Krop, executive director of the Environmental Defense Center. “Allowing full review of the leases will demonstrate the strong statewide opposition to further oil and gas development off the coast of California. The court decision will allow meaningful public and environmental review of these leases.”

Development of the leases between the Channel Islands and Monterey Bay would double the production of oil off the coast of California. According to the EDC, development of the leases would threaten the coast for years while supplying less than two months supply of fuel.

None of the oil companies that own the 36 leases was available for comment.