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Marine Sanctuaries Protected from Potential Oil and Gas Development

04 • 06 • 2021

Marine Sanctuaries Protected from Potential Oil and Gas Development

Victory: On January 20, the Biden Administration officially terminated the federal government's review of oil and gas potential in National Marine Sanctuaries and Monuments

The Surfrider Foundation successfully defended the Channel Islands, Monterey Bay, Cordell Bank, and the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuaries from potential oil and gas development. Working as part of a national coaltion, we helped generate nearly 100,000 comments in opposition to Trump administration's review of five National Marine Sanctuaries (including all four off California’s coast) and six Marine Monuments to determine if these sites might be exploited for energy development.

John Armor, director of NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, addressed the status of the review in a letter dated April 6, 2021. Armor wrote, “On January 20, 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order 13990 on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis. As a result, no further action will be taken by the Department of Commerce pursuant to Executive Order 13795 and we consider the matter closed.”


California's four national marine sanctuaries are key to our state's recreational heritage, healthy ecosystems and a thriving coastal economy. But a new Executive Order mandates a “review” of expanded sanctuary areas that seeks potential new exploitation of offshore oil and gas, frozen methane hydrates and subsea minerals within them. We must push back and insist the federal government not strip protections from our coast! 

The public comment period has closed, but you can still fight for our sanctuaries! Call your representatives in Congress to tell them to oppose new offshore drilling! Find your member's phone numbers here: Senate and House.