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Nava Wants to Send Message to Congress, Bush About Offshore Drilling

The assemblyman's resolution would affirm opposition to opening California's coastline.

California Assemblyman Pedro Nava, chairman of the Joint Committee on Emergency Services and Homeland Security and chairman of the Banking and Finance Committee, this week plans to introduce an Assembly Joint Resolution telling Congress and President Bush that California opposes lifting of the moratorium on offshore oil and gas drilling.

“California’s coastline is an international treasure, and we’re not going to sacrifice it to President Bush and his ill-conceived scheme,” Nava said. “I’ve been fighting the Bush administration’s attempts to spoil and soil our coast for many years. Our beaches have been stained and marine life killed because of oil spills. Offshore oil drilling will not reduce the price of gasoline. It will put our coastline at risk, endanger tourism, fisheries and coastal recreation.”

Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain recently considered measures to open the California coastline and the coastlines of other states to more oil and gas drilling and exploration. Additionally, President Bush recently proposed ending the moratorium on new oil and gas drilling on the California Outer Continental Shelf, which is managed by the federal government.

The resolution would express the California State Assembly‘s strong opposition to any federal energy policy and legislation that attempt to open up the California coast to offshore drilling.

This year marks the 39th anniversary of the Santa Barbara Oil Spill. More than 4 million gallons of crude oil choked 35 miles of California’s coastline causing a path of destruction never before seen in the nation’s history. The carcasses of dolphins and seals washed ashore and countless birds, fish and other wildlife wore black shrouds. The spill and its aftermath galvanized the country, raised environmental awareness and was the catalyst to the modern environmental movement in the United States.

In 1994, the California Assembly established the California Coastal Sanctuary Act, creating a sanctuary stretching from Oregon to the Mexico border. This sanctuary prohibits future oil and gas leasing in state waters in perpetuity.

John Mann represents California Assemblyman Pedro Nava.

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