Legislation introduced to block new offshore oil drilling

California lawmakers among those introducing a flurry of bills

Oil platform off the California coast. Photo: Selbe Lynn

A group of lawmakers from coastal states today introduced a flurry of bills aimed at protecting America’s coastlines from new offshore oil drilling. The effort is intended to counteract moves by the Trump Administration to open up new offshore oil drilling leases in federal waters.

California’s Congressional delegation was represented by Rep. Jared Huffman, who introduced the West Coast Ocean Protection Act and the Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act. Rep. Salud Carbajal of San Luis Obispo introduced the California Clean Coast Act.

“The science and wave of public opposition is clear: America’s oceans must be protected from dangerous offshore drilling,” said Huffman. “Opening our public waters up to oil and gas companies puts fragile ecosystems in jeopardy for environmental catastrophe. We cannot stand idly by while the Trump administration places the short-term profit goals of polluters over the long-term interests of the American people. I’m glad to join today’s nationwide effort to block offshore drilling by introducing my legislation to give the Pacific Coast and Arctic Ocean the protections they deserve, shielding our oceans from reckless exploitation.”

Audubon California has long opposed new offshore oil drilling, contending that our coastlines are too valuable to put at risk. Oil spills cause tremendous damage to birds and their habitats.

The West Coast Ocean Protection Act would permanently protect the California, Oregon, and Washington coasts by amending the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to prohibit new oil or natural gas leases in each state’s outer continental shelves and permanently protect the $44 billion coastal economies of the three states, which support nearly 650,000 jobs.

The Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act would make the Arctic Ocean off-limits to any future drilling proposals by prohibiting any new or renewed leases for the exploration, development, or production of oil, natural gas or any other minerals in the Arctic Ocean Planning Areas of the Outer Continental Shelf.

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