Back in April President Trump issued an executive order entitled “Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy,” in which he called for two things. First, he directed the Department of Commerce, which oversees national marine sanctuaries through the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, to review the status of any sanctuaries created or expanded in the last ten years. Second, he directed the Department of Interior to revise the current program for issuing leases for offshore oil drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf. The simple way to put this is that the Trump Administration wants to open protected areas to mining, oil drilling, and whatever other resource extraction is available.
Over the last month Audubon California collected over 10,000 comments from individuals speaking out against any changes to our marine sanctuaries, including opening them up to resource exploitation and against new off shore oil drilling.
A big thanks to everyone who spoke up and made their voice heard.
Our chapters were critical partners in speaking out. They shared our action alerts with their members and many of them submitted comment letters of their own. Twenty-five chapters signed on to the letter Audubon California submitted against new offshore oil drilling and seventeen coastal chapters submitted their own comment letter on Marine Sanctuaries and many more signed on to letters submitted by conservation partners. Chapters met with local representatives, attended town hall meetings, and had critical conversations. They were also instrumental in contacting representatives to request an extenstion on the comment period for Marine Sanctuaries, which was extended by three weeks. Many localities throughout California passed resolutions opposing the review or sent their own comment letters.
Our ocean ecosystems including the four national marine sanctuaries off the coast of California – Channel Islands, Monterey Bay, Greater Farallones, and Cordell Bank – are treasures that need protection. Our oceans are home to marine birds like Ashy Storm-Petrels and Brown Pelicans and the rich food sources that sustain them as well as other marine life. Opening these treasures to exploitation through oil drilling and mining is certainly not in keeping with President Trump's Executive Order to "foster energy security and resilience for the benefit of the American people, while ensuring that any such activity is safe and environmentally responsible."
Audubon California is opposed to any new offshore oil drilling as well as opening up protected lands and waters to exploitation for mining, oil drilling and other resource extraction. We will continue to monitor these comment processes and fight to protect the oceanic resources that are vital to marine birds.