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Friday, December 14 , 2018, 2:21 pm | Fair 63º


Legislature Passes Bill Expressing Opposition to Offshore Drilling

AJR 51 is designed to send a message to Bush and Congress about the lifting of a federal moratorium.

Assembly Joint Resolution 51, telling President Bush and Congress that California opposes lifting the moratorium on offshore oil and gas drilling, has passed the California Legislature.

“My assembly colleagues are sending a strong message today that California’s coastline is an international treasure, and we’re not going to sacrifice it by lifting the federal moratorium,” said Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, chairman of the Joint Committee on Emergency Services and Homeland Security. “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 any time soon, if at all. It will put our coastline at risk, endanger tourism, fisheries and coastal recreation.”

AJR 51 expresses the California Legislature’s strong opposition to any new federal energy policy and legislation that opens up the California coast to offshore drilling, and rejects President Bush’s recent executive order to end the moratorium on new oil and gas drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf along the California Coast and the coastlines of other states.

Bush’s recent action to rescind the moratorium overturns a policy that was implemented and expanded by his father through executive orders, former President George H.W. Bush.

President Bush’s actions will lead to offshore drilling lease sales along the Northern and Southern California coast, and near shore at Santa Monica Bay, Palos Verdes Peninsula, La Jolla and the Orange County coastline.

Additional lease sales and drilling could occur in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, along the Atlantic Coast, and off of Oregon and Washington. A congressional moratorium on new oil and gas drilling has been in place since 1981, and has been approved every year by Congress. 

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

John Mann is a spokesman for Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara.

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