Oil Spill Devastating California’s Coast, Killing Marine Life - Oceana USA

Oil Spill Devastating California’s Coast, Killing Marine Life

Press Release Date: October 3, 2021

Location: Washington


Austin Matheny, Dustin Cranor, APR | email: amatheny@oceana.org, dcranor@oceana.org | tel: 858.395.5577, 954.348.1314

On Sunday, reports surfaced of a major oil spill disaster currently unfolding off the California coast. The city of Huntington Beach reported that the 126,000 gallon oil spill is causing “substantial ecological impacts occurring at the beach and at the Huntington Beach Wetlands.”

Oceana released the following statement from Chief Policy Officer, Jacqueline Savitz:

“This is the legacy of the fossil fuel age, in which the oil and gas industry pushed their product until we were addicted. We need to break that addiction by shifting to clean energy. It’s time for the age of oil and gas to be history. This is just the latest of many tragedies caused by the oil and gas industry. The reality of our reliance on oil and gas is on full display here.

“In Southern California, the oil has already made its way onto our coasts, covering our beaches in oil and suffocating wildlife, and most of the oil now in our ocean will never be recovered. When we drill, we spill. It’s well past time to prevent future oil spills by permanently protecting our coasts from offshore drilling. The devastating social, economic, and ecological consequences of offshore drilling are, sadly, on full display in Southern California right now. It’s time for President Biden to deliver on his campaign promise to end offshore drilling and we need California’s Senators to ensure this gets done immediately.”

Oceana recently released an analysis detailing the economic benefits of banning new offshore drilling in California. Specifically, the analysis looks at data for ocean-dependent jobs and revenue from fishing, tourism, and recreation along the California coast. The analysis found that ending new leasing off the coast of California will safeguard California’s clean coast economy, which collectively supports around 654,000 jobs and over $50 billion in GDP. Nationwide, the U.S. clean coast economy supports around 3.3 million American jobs and $250 billion in GDP.

Oceana’s analysis also found that ending new leasing for offshore oil and gas in the United States could prevent over 19 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions as well as more than $720 billion in damages to people, property, and the environment nationally. Oceana is calling on President Biden to permanently protect our coasts from offshore drilling to ensure the future of our coastal economy that depends on a healthy ocean and help address the growing climate crisis.

As of today, opposition and concern over offshore drilling activities includes:

  • Every East and West Coast governor, including Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, California, Oregon, and Washington
  • More than 390 local municipalities
  • Over 2,300 local, state, and federal bipartisan officials
  • East and West Coast alliances representing over 56,000 businesses
  • Pacific, New England, South Atlantic, and Mid-Atlantic fishery management councils
  • More than 120  scientists
  • More than 80 former military leaders
  • Commercial and recreational fishing interests such as Southeastern Fisheries Association, Snook and Gamefish Foundation, Fisheries Survival Fund, Billfish Foundation, and International Game Fish Association
  • California Coastal Commission, California Fish and Game Commission, and California State Lands Commission
  • Department of Defense, NASA, U.S. Air Force, and Florida Defense Support Task Force

For more information about Oceana’s efforts to stop the expansion of offshore drilling, please click here.

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 225 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution, and the killing of threatened species like turtles and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results. A restored ocean means that 1 billion people can enjoy a healthy seafood meal, every day, forever. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world. Visit www.usa.oceana.org to learn more.