Ocean Protection, Water Quality, Oil Spill
August 29 2017

Help Fight Back Against Attempts To Open California’s Coast To New Offshore Oil Drilling

by Jennifer Savage

How do you prefer California’s coast? Clean and sparkling, inviting you to swim, surf, play? Or drenched in oil, dead birds and dying sea lions strewn about the shoreline?  

It seems like a no-brainer, right? Even without recent devastating oil spills – Refugio in 2015, Cosco Busan in 2007 – fresh in mind, who would risk destroying our most beloved resource? Well, as you may have heard, on April 28, President Trump issued Executive Order 13795, which encourages new oil and gas exploration and production, putting California’s offshore waters freshly at risk.

This move has caused hundreds of thousands of beach-loving California residents and visitors to speak up in defense of our National Coastal Monument and our National Marine Sanctuaries, as well as weigh in on the 5-Year Offshore Drilling Plan. That’s because, in addition to the intangible joys a day at the beach provides, healthy coastal waters and wildlife are critical to California’s ocean economy. Our coast-dependent businesses generate $45 billion yearly and employ more than a half million people.

In fact, California is already the most energy efficient economy in the world and well on the way toward transcending any remaining dependence on fossil fuels. Why would we reverse this progress to re-embrace dirty, dangerous oil? Especially when we’ve already seen the inevitable result? We’ve watched in horror as blow-outs and breakdowns have sent crude oil spewing throughout our coastal waters and along our beaches. We’ve seen state parks and commercial fishing grounds shut down from the damage, witnessed hundreds of marine mammals, seabirds and other wildlife die, and felt the tremendous impact on our regional tourism, lodging and recreation industries.

The administration’s attempt to sell out our coast is unconscionable. The good news is our state leaders are pushing back on all fronts. Notably, Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, representing Santa Barbara, has authored a piece of legislation, SB 188, that’s already gained the support of environmental groups, fishing organizations and local businesses.

What SB 188 will do is forbid California’s State Lands Commission from approving any new leases (or any lease renewals, extensions, or modifications) that would support new oil and gas drilling in federal waters. So even if the federal government approved new drilling, oil companies would be effectively unable to transport or process it within state waters or along our coast – the prohibition on new leases, etc., would effectively make new drilling infeasible.  

In an April press conference announcing the legislations, Jackson noted, “…this isn’t a distant or abstract issue, it’s deeply personal.” We know that Californians agree. Please help support Senator Jackson’s efforts with the following action:  

1. Contact Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher through her website or call her office at (916) 319-2080 and ask that, as chair of the Appropriations Committee, she commits to moving SB 188 forward to help ensure California’s coast is protected from new offshore oil drilling.

2. Repeat with Assemblymember Anthony Rendon! Use his website or call his office at (916) 319-2063 and ask that, as Speaker of the Assembly, he offers his full support to SB 188 in the interest of California’s citizens, who deserve a healthy coast and a healthy coastal economy!

3. Share this – and your actions – on social media!

Sample tweets:

@LorenaAD80 @Rendon63rd Please support SB188 by @SenHannahBeth – California’s coast is too precious to despoil with new offshore oil!

@LorenaAD80 @Rendon63rd Please protect California’s coast, ocean and economy by supporting SB 188! @SenHannahBeth

@LorenaAD80 @Rendon63rd @SenHannahBeth California’s coast is under threat by the Trump administration! Please ensure SB 188 becomes law!