Yesterday evening, the Encinitas and Solana Beach City Councils adopted resolutions opposing new offshore drilling off the coast of California. With action by both city councils, 23 municipalities in California formally oppose offshore drilling activities, joining nearly 160 municipalities on both the West and East coasts that have voiced opposition to offshore drilling and/or exploration off their shores.
“We applaud the cities of Encinitas and Solana Beach for standing up to protect California’s coast from expanded offshore drilling,” said Brady Bradshaw, campaign organizer with Oceana. “Offshore drilling is a dirty and dangerous business that would threaten the ocean-dependent tourism, recreation and fishing industries of Encinitas and Solana Beach. We’re calling on leaders in Washington to listen to coastal communities that have the most to lose in this fight, and stand with them to protect our coast.”
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—23 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 the decades. Offshore drilling related spills and chronic oil leaks put the ocean economy, marine wildlife, and the health of communities at risk.
“For many of us, Santa Barbara was a wake-up call,” added Bradshaw. “Fifty years later, we’re still fighting this battle. We simply cannot afford to trade thriving coastal economies for the false promises of the oil industry. Enough is enough— coastal communities and businesses have spoken, Washington, D.C. needs to listen and pull the plug on this radical 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, and the California Coastal Commission.
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 nearly 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. To learn more about Oceana’s work in the United States, please visit www.usa.oceana.org.