Federal money coming for California's marine environment

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Molly Peterson/KPCC

California Secretary of Natural Resources Mike Chrisman says the state depends on the 24.7 million dollars of money it gets from the federal Coastal Impact Assistance Program to mitigate impacts of oil and gas production on the marine environment.

Federal and state officials have say nearly $25 million will come to California and 17 coastal counties for environmental improvement projects. KPCC’s Molly Peterson says the funding, announced today in Dana Point, is intended to offset the effects of offshore oil and gas production.

Molly Peterson: Revenue from oil and gas leases within three miles of California mostly returns to the state. But revenue from operations just past those state waters goes to Uncle Sam. Three years ago, that amount totaled about 7-and-a-half billion dollars. The effects upon the marine environment straddle ocean waters under state and federal control. So in its latest energy law, Congress created the Coastal Impact Assistance Program.

State Resources Secretary Mike Chrisman said Los Angeles and Orange counties will get money toward habitat enhancement at Talbert Wetlands, and water quality in Marina del Rey, among others. On board the state's patrol vessel Thresher, Chrisman said the program will pay for upgrades to the boat, too.

Mike Chrisman: These dollars will also help us in preparing for the impacts to the economy and natural resources as we look at climate change, as we look at the changing fisheries pattern up and down the coast of California, we look at the change in the coastal dependent communities up and down the coast.

Peterson: California will stretch its share of the money. It shrank to $25 million from a total pool of about a billion. Bigger pieces of the pie went to Gulf Coast states and to Alaska under a formula that rewards big energy deals in those waters. But Chrisman said California’s come to depend on the money this program still provides.

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