Yesterday evening, the City of Scotts Valley unanimously adopted a resolution opposing new offshore drilling off the coast of California, following on the heels of similar action by the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea on February 6. With action by the cities of Carmel-by-the-Sea and Scotts Valley, 31 municipalities in California formally oppose offshore drilling activities off their shores, joining more than 185 municipalities on both the West and East coasts.
“In response to the call for comments to the proposed federal offshore oil and gas leasing program, the Scotts Valley City Council, with the support of Save Our Shores and Oceana, has taken action to protest this proposal by adopting a Resolution opposing oil and gas drilling off of our coast to protect our local environment and our local economy,” said Scotts Valley Vice Mayor Jack Reed.
“Scotts Valley and Santa Cruz County residents cherish our coastline and know it's worth protecting,” said Scotts Valley Mayor Jim Reed. “Offshore drilling is bad for our economy, bad for our environment, and bad for our quality of life."
“We applaud the cities of Carmel and Scotts Valley for standing up to protect California’s coast from expanded offshore drilling,” said Ashley Blacow, Pacific policy and communications manager with Oceana. “We simply cannot support expanded offshore oil and gas drilling at the risk of coastal communities, economies, and ocean wildlife. Cities across the Monterey Peninsula are uniting to send a clear message to decision-makers in Washington, DC that California’s coast is not for sale.”
“As a leader of a coastal conservation non-profit with a mission to steward clean shores, healthy habitats and living waters in our Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, it is particularly gratifying to see the cities of Carmel and Scotts Valley unite and take a stand against potential future threats to our Sanctuary,” said Katherine O’Dea, Executive Director of Save Our Shores. “Environmental policy coming out of D.C. these days is imprudent at best, so action by our local governing bodies is one of our best lines of defense.”
The West Coast has long been safeguarded from expanded offshore drilling; no new leases have been granted in Pacific federal waters since 1984 or in California state waters since 1969—the year of the Santa Barbara oil spill disaster. However, in April 2017 President Trump issued an Executive Order calling for a re-evaluation of U.S. oceans for oil and gas potential. Just a few weeks ago, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced plans to open nearly all U.S. federal waters to offshore drilling activities, including the Pacific Coast. In response to these federal actions local jurisdictions in California have been speaking out—31 municipalities have passed resolutions of opposition since last April.
A healthy Pacific coast contributes upwards of 500,000 jobs and provides nearly $12 billion in wages, through fishing, recreation and tourism and other sectors. 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 multiple decades. Offshore drilling related spills and chronic oil leaks put the ocean economy, marine wildlife, and the health of communities at risk.
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.
For more information go to www.oceana.org/ProtectOurCoast
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.
Save Our Shores is the California Central Coast’s oldest marine conservation nonprofit. We advocate for clean shores, healthy habitats and living waters in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Get involved at saveourshores.org.