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California Legislative Bills Shut Out Trump’s Offshore Drilling Plans

August 30, 2018

California Lawmakers to Trump Administration: Federal Offshore Drilling? Not on Our Watch

Legislation banning oil and gas infrastructure heads to Governor’s desk; puts up formidable barrier for fossil fuel companies looking to drill in Pacific waters

SACRAMENTO — As the federal government prepares to release a revised offshore drilling plan that could open up Pacific waters to oil and gas drilling for the first time in 30 years, California legislators today sent the Trump administration a clear and loud message: Not on our watch, and not through our shores.

Earlier this week, the California Assembly passed Senate Bill 834 (Jackson), legislation that prohibits the leasing of state waters for new construction of oil and gas-related infrastructure. In doing so, the state is effectively banning the development of pipelines, platforms, and other infrastructure needed to bring offshore oil and gas to shore to be processed. A mirror bill, Assembly Bill 1775 (Muratsuchi) passed out of the Senate on Tuesday. Both legislations have now passed concurrence votes and are headed to the governor’s desk and are widely expected to be signed into law by Gov. Brown.

“From the Santa Barbara spill to Refugio, our community knows all too well the devastation oil spills can bring to our local economy, environment, and marine life,” said Senator Jackson. “With SB 834’s passage, California is sending a strong and unequivocal statement that we will not let the Trump Administration destroy our precious coastal community for economic gain. I urge Governor Brown to stand up to Trump and sign SB 834.”

California joins a slate of other coastal states who have responded to the Trump administration’s proposal with broad, bipartisan opposition. New Jersey and New York passed legislation to protect the Atlantic, while Maryland and Delaware are considering similar measures. Down in the Gulf, Florida voters will vote on a ballot proposition in November’s elections.

At least 65 cities and counties across California, representing more than half of the state’s population, have taken action to publicly oppose fossil fuel development in the Pacific. They are joined by more than 1,100 businesses who are part of the Business Alliance for Protecting the Pacific Coast, who recognize the impact of the Pacific Ocean and coast in sustaining communities and economies.

“California’s commercial fisheries, among the best-managed in the world, would be put at grave risk by an expansion of offshore drilling off our coast,” said Noah Oppenheim, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations. “Fishermen are glad to be an important part of the vast majority of ocean stakeholders and businesses who agree that there’s no place for offshore oil here. This bill is critical to our economic survival.”

According to the National Ocean Economics Program, tourism, recreation, and fishing along California’s coast generate nearly $20 billion a year and support 400,000 jobs in hotels, restaurants, gas stations, tackle shops, charter boats, and other local businesses. At stake are valuable fisheries like Dungeness crab, salmon, spiny lobster, rockfish—and a way of life for many coastal communities.

There have been no federal offshore oil leases in California since 1984, thanks to bipartisan coastal conservation set in motion by the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara. According to the latest PPIC poll, 2 out of 3 Californians oppose offshore drilling, and opposition holds steady across party lines, and in inland as well as coastal regions. A series of recent polls show a majority of voters in San Diego, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, and Orange counties oppose offshore oil and gas drilling, and want their members of Congress to oppose more drilling off California’s coast.

AB 1775 and SB 834 are supported by state leaders, city governments, indigenous-led organizations, businesses, environmental advocates, as well as the California Nurses Association and SEIU-California, whose members are heavily impacted by air pollution from fossil fuels.

“After more than 30 years without any new offshore oil and gas leases in California, this legislation re-emphasizes the state’s opposition to new leases and its commitment to protect our coastal environment, tourism and recreation, and economy. From the infamous 1969 Santa Barbara Oil Spill to the more recent Refugio Oil Spill in 2015, it is clear that with offshore oil development it is just a matter of time before the next spill devastates our coast.”

Linda Krop, Chief Counsel, Environmental Defense Center

“The State of California has now clearly posted our coastline with ‘No Trespassing’ signs directed at the offshore drillers. When Governor Brown signs today’s legislation into law, he will be keeping polluting offshore rigs away from sensitive beaches and wildlife in San Diego, Malibu, Orange County, Santa Monica Bay, Ventura, and Mendocino, by enacting an effective law that will protect the entire California coastline.”

Richard Charter, Senior Fellow, The Ocean Foundation

“The Trump administration’s reckless offshore drilling plan triggered a statewide wave of resistance, and lawmakers clearly got the message: California will not risk our beloved beaches or multibillion dollar blue economy.”

Sean Bothwell, Policy Director, California Coastkeeper Alliance

“Today’s vote sends a clear message to Washington, D.C.—there is resounding bipartisan support for protecting beaches, fishermen, and our thriving ocean tourism and recreation economy. Refusing new fossil fuel development is the way to forge ahead toward to a clean energy future. California’s future is one of clean beaches, healthy marine ecosystems, and thriving ocean tourism for all to enjoy.”

Sandy Aylesworth, Oceans Advocate, Natural Resources Defense Council

“With the passage of this legislation, California continues its longstanding commitment to protecting marine wildlife from the harmful effects of offshore oil and gas drilling. For wildlife like sea otters, which could be wiped out entirely with one large oil spill along the Central Coast, this is welcome news.”

Kim Delfino, California Program Director, Defenders of Wildlife

“With the passage of these bills, California is putting a stop to the expansion of extreme offshore energy development on our coastline. Trump and Zinke’s plan to allow oil companies to drill on our coasts will endanger everyone and everything living in and near our oceans. Today the Legislature acted to protect our oceans and coast from the Trump administration’s dirty oil agenda.”

Marcie Keever, Oceans & Vessels Program Director, Friends of the Earth

“When President Trump, the Polluter-in-Chief, announced a plan to expand offshore oil drilling, it felt like a direct threat to our coastal communities. Pollution from drilling and the threat of an oil spill would impact everything from the food chain to our water and air quality. The Sierra Club wholeheartedly commends the legislature for passing two critical bills that will safeguard our coast and our fragile marine ecosystem.”

Kathryn Phillips, Director, Sierra Club California

“California’s leadership once again shows that our state is committed to moving forward, not backward. SB 834 and AB 1775 together serve as one more way to say no way, no how, not in California, to a federal administration attacking the coast and ocean we hold so dear.”

Jennifer Savage, California Policy Manager, Surfrider Foundation

“With increased oil and gas drilling, comes increased risk of oil spills and devastation to our shores. This is a danger that both California’s environment and economy cannot afford. As business owners, entrepreneurs, and other leaders, CA Voices for Progress members cheer today’s victory.”

Sandra K. Fluke, California State & Western Region Director, Voices for Progress

“We are happy to know that today, via the passage of SB 834 and AB 1775, California stands with the many coastal Native Nations throughout California and the United States working to protect our coastal lands and waters from offshore drilling.”

Angela Mooney D’Arcy, Executive Director, Sacred Places Institute

“Oil drilling is dirty and dangerous. In a time when we can move to clean energy sacrificing our ocean health for oil makes no sense.”

Dan Jacobson, State Director, Environment California

“An overwhelming majority of Californians oppose allowing more drilling off our coast, and the passage of SB 834 and AB 1775 reflects this by enshrining protections for our coasts, our economy and our way of life.”

Marce Gutierrez-Graudiņš, Founder and Director, Azul

“The legislature just sent a strong, unified message to Washington, DC that California will not allow the risk of more oil spills to jeopardize its communities, economies, and wildlife. The legislature listened to the emphatic opposition from Californians and with the pass of Governor Brown’s pen on these bills the Secretary of the Interior must do the same.”

Ashley Blacow, Pacific Policy and Communications Manager, Oceana

“Today California’s lawmakers followed the will of the people and sent a powerful message to the Trump administration – we will no longer sacrifice our coastal waters and beaches to the oil industry. And with good reason. Expanding offshore oil and gas drilling is a terrible idea – it puts our beaches, oceans and shorelines unnecessarily at risk. With the passage of this bill,

California’s leaders are continuing to move in the right direction, towards a clean energy future that makes sense for everyone.”

Brettny Hardy, Staff Attorney, Earthjustice

“This is a big victory against Trump’s plan to endanger our oceans and coastal communities with more drill rigs and oil spills. California has joined a rapidly growing number of states that have put up a ‘Not for Sale’ sign along their coasts.”

Blake Kopcho, Oceans Campaigner, Center for Biological Diversity

“We’re grateful and proud of our state lawmakers for taking action to make it perfectly clear to the Trump Administration that Californians will not stand to have our beautiful coast sullied by the oil industry. Banning oil-related infrastructure in our state waters gives us the protection we need to safeguard our oceans against short-sighted and ill-advised plans to drill for fossil fuels.”

Katherine O’Dea, Executive Director, Save Our Shores

“By passing these bills today, California has spoken loud and clear: We will not allow the Trump Administration to sell off our coastline to corporate polluters and trample on the rights of Californians. We must transition to clean energy and protect our state against a federal government that seeks to enrich Big Oil at any cost. Governor Brown must stand up for the people of California and sign SB 834 and AB 1775 into law.”

Dave Weiskopf, Climate Policy Director, NextGen America

Protect the Pacific is a coalition of environmental groups, native nations and businesses, including the California Coastal Protection Network, California Coastkeeper Alliance, Center for Biological Diversity, CA League of Conservation Voters, Citizens for Responsible Oil and Gas (CFROG), Defenders of Wildlife, Environment CA, Environmental Defense Center, Food & Water Watch, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Heal The Bay, Oceana, NextGen America, NRDC, Ocean Conservation Research, Ocean Protectors Coalition, Pacific Environment, Sacred Places Institute, Save Our Shores, Sierra Club, Surfrider Foundation, Turtle Island Restoration Network, Environmental Action Committee of West Marin and Wildcoast.

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