On April 28th, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to expand offshore oil drilling in U.S. waters. The order directs the Department of the Interior to develop a new five-year oil and gas leasing program to consider new areas for offshore drilling. The order also blocks the creation of new national marine sanctuaries and orders a review of all existing sanctuaries and marine monuments designated or expanded in the past ten years.
There are serious environmental impacts associated with each stage of offshore drilling, including marine mammal harm from seismic surveys, polluted water from oil processing, and potential for oil spills that can damage entire ecosystems.
America needs to conserve energy, protect our natural resources and look for innovative ways to build a sustainable energy portfolio. Offshore oil drilling is not the answer.
Please join our campaign to stop new offshore drilling off U.S. coastlines. See below to learn how you can take action.
The long-awaited expansion of the Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries northward from Bodega Bay to Pt. Arena, a decision that will add 2700 square miles of protected waters, has been announced, accompanied by the dates and locations of upcoming public hearings in the affected communities and the release of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement.
The Northern California coast between Bodega Bay and Pt. Arena attracts millions of visitors and is the centerpiece of the region’s economy, hosting one of the planet’s four most productive ocean upwelling systems, in which nutrient-rich waters rise from the depths to provide the base of the marine food chain which embraces a globally significant, extraordinarily diverse, and productive marine ecosystem that supports abundant wildlife and valuable fisheries.
It provides breeding and feeding grounds for at least twenty-five endangered or threatened species; thirty-six marine mammal species, including blue, gray, and humpback whales, harbor seals, elephant seals, Pacific white-sided dolphins, and one of the southernmost U.S. populations of threatened Steller sea lions, plus over a quarter-million breeding seabirds.
Pursued for many years in a bipartisan effort by affected local elected officials and our Representatives and Senators in Congress, this is an outcome that will permanently prohibit offshore oil and gas drilling and establish rules for sewage dumping from cruise ships on the entire Sonoma Coast and on the Southern Mendocino Coast.
Upcoming Public Hearings:
May 22, 2014, Sausalito, 6 pm-U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Bay Model Visitor Center, 2100 Bridgeway Blvd., Sausalito, CA 95465
June 16, 2014, Point Arena, 6 pm-Point Arena City Hall, 451 School Street, Point Arena, CA 95468
June 17, 2014, Gualala, 6 pm-Gualala Community Center, 47950 Center Street, Gualala, CA 95445
June 18, 2014, Bodega Bay, 6 pm-Grange Hall, 1370 Bodega Avenue, Bodega Bay, CA 94923
Written comments will be accepted until June 30, 2014, and should be sent to: Maria Brown, Superintendent, Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, 991 Marine Drive-The Presidio, San Francisco, CA 94129.
More details can be found at: http://SanctuaryExpansion.org
As many of your know, the Surfrider Foundation has been conducting a national campaign in opposition to opening new offshore oil drilling since the Federal moratoria expired in 2008. In the wake of the Gulf Oil Spill and continued efforts to open new offshore areas to drilling, we have been working with the Surfrider Board of Directors to establish an offshore oil drilling policy.
You can learn more about our campaign at:
We have finalized a draft for chapter review:
Please comment by Thursday, November 17th.
With the Bush Administration, the Mendocino coast fell under the crosshairs of a renewed bid for offshore oil drilling. Now Barack Obama would like to tap into the north coast’s raw wind and wave energy. There is an article about it in Sunday’s Press Democrat.
For those with high speed internet, there will be a live webcast of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s final public meeting on the future of offshore energy development beginning at 9 a.m. on Thursday, April 16.
According to the Press Democrat, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will attend a public meeting on April 16th at the University of California at San Francisco’s Mission Bay Conference Center, “as part of his effort to forge a new policy for offshore oil and gas development, including the California coast.”
There is a new article in today’s Advocate-News about the Bush Administration’s plan to open up areas of the California coast to offshore oil drilling, and apparently, the plan specifically targeted Mendocino County. Thankfully, for the plan to be set in motion, it would need to be approved by the Obama Administration and personally, I don’t see that happening.
Back in the 1980s there was a big push to drill for oil off California’s north coast. Exploratory mapping revealed millions of acres of oil deposits from Bodega north, and from what I recall, the biggest concentration lay just off the Mendocino coast. Though logging and fishing were in full swing back then, the area was still considered pristine and the last thing people wanted to see were unsightly rigs in the ocean a few miles offshore. Thankfully the federal ban was put in place to keep the north coast waters “wild.”
Black gold has once again become a topic of discussion in recent years, especially when it comes down to American’s dependency on foreign oil. The average American probably wouldn’t have cared so much if gas prices hadn’t skyrocketed to record highs in 2008 and threatened to stay that way, or get worse, in years to come. But because of the global demand, the Bush Administration sought to relieve that dependence on foreigners by opening up areas of the United States to drilling. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was first on the list. Unbeknownst to many though, so was California’s north coast.
During the election, Republican nominee John McCain was very keen on seeing the federal ban on offshore oil drilling lifted. Now that the ban has ended when Congress let the moratorium lapse, the north coast is back in the cross-hairs. Though gas prices have dropped to lows not seen in over five years, the fear factor about what life would be like without oil is now on everybody’s minds. What’s scary to me is the fact that, unlike the ’80s, this time around big oil might just get their way.
There was an article on SFGate.com this morning about this very subject, and they included a map of areas of prospective interest to the oil industry. It’s disheartening to know that most of the Mendocino coast falls within big oil’s interests. Rigs could potentially be in place by 2012. If this happens, it would mean oil tankers would become a common sight off our shore, the risk of spills would increase ten-fold and for what, a temporary relief at the pump? It would do nothing to curb our dependence, nothing at all. In fact, I imagine it would only be a stepping stone for more drilling, equating to a few more decades of demand for the black stuff.
Ultimately though, the fate of the north coast lay in the hands of President-elect Obama. With more and more people in favor of drilling off the coast, there could be pressure for the President to take action, even if he may be personally against the idea.
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how this all plays out.