Protect the Pacific from Trump
by Marcie Keever, Oceans & Vessels Director
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When the Deepwater Horizon exploded and spewed more than 210 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the public watched and waited for six months for a solution to the crisis. The lesson of the disaster: offshore oil drilling is a catastrophe waiting to happen.
But now, Trump wants to bring environmental disaster to California’s beaches and shoreline.
On Thursday, February 8, California residents will descend on a public meeting in Sacramento to make their voices heard in opposition to a draft 5-year oil and gas leasing plan. If he gets his way, Donald Trump would aggressively open the nation’s ocean waters, including extensive areas off the coast of California, to offshore drilling by the same companies responsible for the Deepwater Horizon spill.
Offshore oil drilling is a catastrophe waiting to happen
Californians recognize that this plan is a threat to the natural and economic legacy of coastal communities across the nation, and throughout the state. Californians who have lived their entire lives with a deep appreciation for our treasured natural coasts share this view broadly.
The environmental, climate, health, safety and economic risks from Trump’s extreme energy agenda are numerous, but they are not the only dangers presented by expanded offshore drilling.
The truth is that the erratic tendencies of current Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke were revealed when he announced via Twitter that he would exempt Florida from the drilling plan at the behest of a GOP Governor who wants to enter a difficult Senate race. The public should have no confidence that Trump will respect bedrock laws protecting our environment and the right of the public to have their voice heard in his decision to drill off our coasts.
Fortunately, we have tools that would not only put a quick and effective legal and physical stop to the threat of expanded offshore lease sales, but would also send a powerful message to coastal communities around the nation that Trump and Zinke’s disastrous offshore drilling plan can be stopped.
Democratic leadership in the California state Assembly and Senate have introduced legislation that would effectively halt any expansion of drilling off our coasts. By prohibiting the development of any new fossil fuel infrastructure necessary to serve new leases, such as pipelines, in all coastal lands under the authority of the State Lands Commission, our state can stop this dangerous plan.
With both chambers under the control of the Democrats, and a Democrat governor, we have an undeniable opportunity to pass this strategically crafted legislation. In making this move, California’s political leaders who have committed to resisting Trump’s extreme agenda, can finally take real action to stop his Administration’s attacks on our environment.
On February 8th, we must make sure that President Trump and Secretary Zinke hear from Californians who reject this proposal to expand offshore oil drilling off our coast and in all ocean waters of our nation. Democratic leadership in Sacramento needs to hear our call to act against Trump’s plans. Pass this legislation now and send the Trump Administration and Big Oil a clear message: Expanding oil drilling in federal waters off the coast of California is not an option.