The agreement trades a massive open space donation and other terms for clearance to conduct exploratory drilling off the coast.
The article contains an interview with Debra Geiler, Southern California Director for the Trust for Public Land, one of the key benefactors of the deal:
"Others have tried this before. What's different this time is that Plains went to the environmental groups and said, 'What do you want from us? What would it take for us to get your support?' First, everybody shook their heads and said, 'Are you kidding? No way. It'll never happen.' Then, they started seeing a potential opportunity to negotiate with PXP for multiple benefits..."
"There are other oil companies that operate in the channel, and I think what the groups are saying right now is, 'This is your bar. This is the high-water mark. You need to come to us to negotiate something.'"
"The coast of California generally traverses north and south. At Point Conception, it transitions to an east-west direction. In that area, there's a convergence of extremely different, rare terrestrial and marine life. The habitat and the species in this area are very important. TPL has been working to conserve land on the Gaviota Coast for about 12 years."