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Citizens and Elected Leaders of Orange County Assemble to Oppose Offshore Drilling and Demand Climate Action

Rep. Katie Porter, Asm. Cottie Petrie-Norris, Councilmember Kim Carr and others emphasized the impacts of offshore drilling and the need to transition to a clean economy

Huntington Beach, Calif., May 24, 2022 -  As part of the international Hands Across the Sand event, residents of Orange County met at Huntington State Beach on Saturday, May 21, to raise awareness about the impacts of offshore drilling and the need to transition to affordable clean energy solutions. Participants formed a line across the beach in solidarity with dozens of synchronized events across the U.S. and around the globe. 

Participants called on federal leaders to permanently ban new offshore drilling in U.S. waters by passing legislation in Congress. Despite ongoing oil spill disasters and the climate change emergency, U.S. coastlines continue to be vulnerable to new oil and gas development. In the upcoming weeks, the Department of Interior is expected to release the next draft of the 5-Year Offshore Drilling Program, which may include new proposed oil and gas drilling.

Hands Across the Sand attendees also called upon government leaders to safely retire existing offshore rigs off of the coast of California. On October 2, 2021, the Amplify Energy oil spill released an estimated 24,696 gallons of crude oil off of Huntington Beach, causing major impacts to the environment, in addition to Orange County communities and the economy. 

Similar Hands Across the Sand events were held across the country and around the world. Thousands of citizens joined to speak out against offshore drilling and other oil and gas development, and to promote a clean energy future. The global response is a clear indication that communities and citizens expect strong government leadership to transition away from fossil fuels and respond to the climate emergency. 

“A comprehensive and collaborative strategy is essential to successfully phase out offshore oil production off the coast of California and increase the sources of clean energy in our state,” said Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris. “The considerations for decommissioning are myriad and very complex. We are working to help shape the coming years of making our state a greener and safer place for all Californians.”

“Last year’s Orange County oil spill was another wake-up call on the risks that offshore drilling poses to our $44 billion coastal economy, our precious marine ecosystems, and our California way of life,” said California State Senator David Min. “In response to this oil spill, and community outrage about it, I introduced SB 953 earlier this year, to safeguard our coastal economy and our beaches. This bill is just the beginning. I will continue to explore all mechanisms and pathways to try to remove oil rigs off the coast of California. Another oil spill—and all of the associated environmental and economic damage—is inevitable unless we act now.” 

“The recent Amplify Energy oil spill is yet another reminder of why we need to end offshore drilling and transition to renewable energy,” said the Surfrider Foundation’s CEO, Dr. Chad Nelsen. “The Surfrider Foundation calls upon our elected leaders to establish a permanent ban on new offshore drilling and support the swift and safe decommissioning of existing oil and gas platforms.” 

“Over 7,500 businesses in California, Oregon, and Washington have joined the Business Alliance for Protecting the Pacific Coast,” said Grant Bixby with the Business Alliance for Protecting the Pacific Coast (BAPPC). “With our sister organizations on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, our voice is over 55,000 businesses strong. As a Principal Real Estate Broker in Orange County, I understand that our clean coast economy is built on outdoor recreation and tourism that draws people to our beautiful coastal areas. It’s simple: offshore oil drilling is bad for business, bad for our communities, and bad for our environment.”

Floridian Dave Rauschkolb founded Hands Across The Sand in October 2009. Hands Across The Sand is endorsed by national environmental organizations including Surfrider Foundation, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Oceana, Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, Gulf Restoration Network, and Center for a Sustainable Coast. In-kind supporters are Urban Paradise Guild and Blue Frontier Campaign. 

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About the Surfrider Foundation

The Surfrider Foundation is a nonprofit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s ocean, waves and beaches for all people through a powerful activist network. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers in Malibu, California, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains over one million supporters, activists and members, with more than 190 volunteer-led chapters and student clubs in the U.S., and more than 700 victories protecting our coasts. Learn more at surfrider.org.