12 • 01 • 2021

Newport Beach, CA Passes Resolution Against Offshore Drilling

By Pete Stauffer

The Surfrider Foundation, business leaders and ocean advocates are celebrating a significant milestone after the City of Newport Beach became the 101st  West Coast community to pass a resolution to oppose new offshore oil and gas drilling on November 30th. Newport Beach joins Costa Mesa, Dana Point, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach and San Clemente as municipalities in Orange County that have passed anti-drilling resolutions. 

After a major spill recently leaked into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California, resulting in a 13-mile oil slick, this critical action will help to prevent future oil spill disasters in the popular Newport Beach region. Members of Congress are currently considering legislation to permanently ban new offshore drilling off the West Coast and other U.S. regions.

“The Surfrider Foundation has fought long and hard to stop offshore drilling and we are pleased to see the City of Newport Beach take this important action,” said Dr. Chad Nelsen, CEO of the Surfrider Foundation. “The recent Southern California Oil Spill showed the damaging repercussions of offshore drilling on our coastal environment and communities. ”

“We are grateful that the Newport Beach City Council did the right thing by showing support for protecting our city’s economic engine for years to come,” said Michelle Giron, Chair of the Newport Beach Surfrider Chapter. “This spill, which resulted in tremendous damage to marine life, birds, and the city’s economy, became a call to action to get this resolution passed to protect our coasts for the future.”     

Coastal business owners also lobbied the City of Newport Beach individually and collectively via the Business Alliance for Protecting the Pacific Coast (BAPPC), a 7,500+ member organization that opposes offshore oil & gas exploration and production as bad for our economy.  “The recent oil spill closed our beaches and Newport Harbor, harming businesses, residents, and visitors alike who depend on a clean coastal environment for their livelihoods and lifestyles,” said Grant Bixby of BAPPC.

“ The Surf Industry Manufacturers Association applauds the City of Newport Beach for passing a resolution against offshore oil and gas drilling. Our businesses and entire industry rely on and profit from clean beaches and safe ocean waters for surfing, diving, fishing, boating and other outdoor activities,” said Paul Naude, President of the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association.”

The Newport Beach resolution that formally opposes new offshore oil and gas drilling is one of many across the West Coast. Additional resolutions and letters have called for either a ban on new offshore oil and gas drilling, fracking, and other well stimulation in federal and state waters, or a ban on new federal oil and gas leases in all U.S. waters.

“The Southern California oil spill is yet another reminder of the damaging impacts of offshore oil drilling on our coastal environment, marine animals, and adjacent communities,” said Pete Stauffer, Environmental Director with the Surfrider Foundation. “In order to prevent more spills and the Department of Interior from issuing offshore oil and gas lease sales in the future, we are calling for our federal leaders to permanently protect U.S. waters from new oil and gas development.”

After years of fighting to protect the coasts from offshore drilling, the Surfrider Foundation celebrated when the House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act on November 19th, which includes provisions to ban new offshore drilling in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Eastern Gulf of Mexico. However, the bill still needs to pass the Senate and be signed by President Biden to become law.

Take Action to Support a Permanent Ban on Offshore Drilling