Today, hundreds of concerned residents gathered at San Diego’s Mission Beach in solidarity to protest the federal proposal to open waters off California to new oil and gas drilling.
Speakers at today’s rally included Representative Scott Peters, Assemblymember Todd Gloria, San Diego County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar, and San Diego City Councilmember Lorie Zapf. All spoke in unified opposition to expanded drilling.
“The disastrous decision to expand drilling along our coasts is a step backward for our environment and our economy,” said Representative Scott Peters. “Trump can't bring back the energy jobs of the past, so he needs to stop this attack on San Diego's beaches and bays and realize that clean technology is rapidly growing and creating jobs.”
“Our region’s 70 miles of coastline and its communities provide vital economic drivers such as tourism, educational conservation programs, and military readiness and training activities essential to our national security,” said San Diego County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar. “While I support a diverse and reliable energy supply, it is my duty as a coastal Supervisor to defend our delicate coast.”
“Whether you are driven by economics, politics or science, offshore drilling is a bad idea,” said Jackie Savitz, Oceana’s Chief Policy Officer, North America. “Not if, but when there is a spill, coastal businesses will pay the price. Why risk this existing thriving economy which depends on healthy coasts, to gamble on a high-risk, hoped-for venture that threatens coastal businesses and coastal economies.”
At Mission Beach, hundreds of people gathered along Mission Beach. Speakers highlighted the impacts that dangerous offshore drilling activities will have on local businesses, city revenue, fishing, favorite surf spots, and the overall California coastal way of life. The crowd moved onto the water’s edge and held hands, a line that could be seen for 15 blocks, signifying a unified voice.
The 1969 Santa Barbara and 2015 Refugio Beach oil spill disasters, combined with multiple leaks from offshore platforms and undersea pipelines, have released more than four million gallons of oil into the Pacific Ocean over the decades. Healthy oceans support more than 89,000 jobs and generate $4.3 billion in San Diego County through tourism, recreation, and fishing sectors alone. Offshore drilling related spills and chronic oil leaks put the ocean economy, marine wildlife, and the health of communities at risk—a risk San Diego County cannot afford.
Today’s rally is one of seven taking place today in coastal cities across California as part of a unified day of action for the voices of those who have the most to lose to be heard. The rallies came about in response to the announcement by the Secretary of the Interior that only one public meeting will be held in California—on February 8 in Sacramento—to allow for public comment on newly proposed offshore oil leases off California. One meeting for the entire state of California is inadequate to provide the opportunity for Californians to participate and comment.
The draft five-year program (2019-2024) for new oil and gas activities proposes to open nearly all U.S. federal waters to offshore drilling activities, including six new lease sales off northern, central and southern California. There have been no new federal leases off California since 1984.The draft proposed program is the result of President Trump’s executive order on offshore energy in April 2017, which directed the Department of the Interior to encourage offshore drilling. The public has until March 9, 2018 to comment on the draft proposed program, which is the first of two opportunities for public comment on the plan.
Many of California’s state leaders also vocally oppose expanded offshore oil drilling including California Governor Jerry Brown, California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, the majority of California’s Members of Congress, the California Fish and Game Commission, the California State Lands Commission, the California Coastal Commission, and the California Ocean Protection Council. Additionally, 27 cities and counties across the state have adopted resolutions opposing expanded offshore drilling since April 2017.
To learn more about the opposition to offshore drilling activities, please click here.
Photos and video from today’s rally are available for media use at http://bit.ly/OceansVisuals
Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana is rebuilding abundant and biodiverse oceans by winning science-based policies in countries that control one third of the world’s wild fish catch. With more than 200 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution and killing of threatened species like turtles and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results. A restored ocean means that one billion people can enjoy a healthy seafood meal, every day, forever. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world. Visit www.oceana.org to learn more.