Yesterday evening, the Laguna Beach City Council unanimously adopted a resolution opposing new offshore drilling off the coast of California. Laguna Beach is the thirteenth municipality in California to pass such a resolution, joining more than 135 municipalities on both the West and East coasts that have voiced opposition to offshore drilling and/or exploration off their shores.
“We applaud the City of Laguna Beach for standing up to protect California’s coast from expanded offshore drilling,” said Nancy Hastings, campaign organizer with Oceana. “Offshore drilling is a dirty and dangerous business that would threaten the ocean-dependent tourism, recreation and fishing industries of Laguna 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.”
“It is great to see a proactive decision by the Laguna Beach City Council to join the ranks of California coming together to support scientific assessment and public input to formally oppose new offshore oil and gas drilling,” said Surfrider Foundation’s South Orange County Chapter Chairman, Rick Erkeneff. “Our #1 economic engine in Southern California is tourism and the threats that offshore drilling poses are an enormous risk to our environment and our economy.”
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, including the Pacific coast. In response, local jurisdictions in California have been speaking out, with 13 municipalities passing resolutions since April, with the City of Marina—along the Monterey Bay Peninsula— also passing a similar resolution at its meeting yesterday evening.
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 Hastings. “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 states have spoken, Washington, DC needs to listen.”
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 California Fish and Game Commission, the California State Lands Commission, and the California Coastal Commission.
For more information go to www.oceana.org/ProtectOurCoast