Senator McGuire’s offshore oil drilling ban passes Senate Natural Resources Committee

SB 788 would close the offshore oil drilling loophole and protect California’s environment and $40 billion coastal economy

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Sacramento, CA – Senator Mike McGuire’s bill to forever protect California’s coast from new offshore oil development in state waters passed with a sweeping vote of support from the Senate Natural Resources Committee Tuesday afternoon.

SB 788 – The Coastal Protection Act – will close the loophole in the Coastal Sanctuary Act that currently would allow the State Lands Commission to grant new leases for offshore oil and gas development. New offshore oil leases are a real possibility in California and developers are already testing the political waters.

“One code section is all that stands between new offshore oil development and forever protecting our coast from drilling, Senator Mike McGuire said. “After all of the work that we have done to protect our coast and our environment, it’s unconscionable to think that there is a loophole that could lead to additional drilling in state water. It poses too great a risk.”

In 1969, for 11 days, more than 4 million gallons of crude oil blew into the ocean just off of Santa Barbara’s coast. Two hundred square miles of ocean and 35 miles of California coastline were oiled and thousands of animals were killed. As a result, California has taken a position to intentionally forgo any revenue from new offshore oil development due to the unacceptably high risk, and has instead focused on developing clean renewable energy. 

“Leaving open the option for new offshore drilling undermines California’s push to be a national leader on renewable energy, energy efficiency and reducing our reliance on petroleum,” Senator McGuire said. “Our coastal economies contribute $40 billion annually and 500,000 jobs, we need to protect this valuable economic engine.”

California has the world’s 8th largest economy. Coastal communities contribute $40 billion annually to the state’s economy, and provide nearly half a million important jobs. Commercial fisheries in the state are valued at more than $7 billion annually. Ocean dependent tourism is valued at over $10 billion annually. Recreational fishing is valued at over $2 billion annually along California’s coast.

SB 788 will help our coastal economy thrive and permanently protect California’s coast from the impacts of an offshore oil spill.

The bill will now move forward to Senate Appropriations.

SB 788 has broad support. Principal coauthors are Senators Jackson and Leno and Assemblymember Levine. Coauthors are Senators Allen, Hancock, Wolk and Monning and Assemblymembers Dodd, Wood, Mark Stone, and Williams.

Also supporting SB 788 are: California Coastkeeper Alliance, California Coastal Protection Network, California League of Conservation Voters, California Sea Urchin Commission, California Sport Fishing League, California Trout, Center for Biological Diversity, Clean Water Action, Coast Seafoods Company, Defenders of Wildlife, Environment California, Environmental Action Committee of West Marin, Environmental Defense Fund, Fishing Vessel Corregidor, Golden Gate Salmon Association, Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake, Heal the Bay, Hog Island Oyster Company, Humboldt Baykeeper, Kayak Zak’s, Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, League of Women Voters of California, Mad River Alliance, Natural Resources Defense Council, Ocean Outfall Group, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, Santa Barbara Environmental Defense Center, Sherwood Valley Band of Pomo Indians, Sierra Club California, Smith River Rancheria, Surfrider Foundation, The Northcoast Environmental Center, The Wildlands Conservancy, Union of Concerned Scientist, West Marin Environmental Action Committee.

For more information or questions, please contact Kerrie Lindecker, Communications Coordinator, at 707-319-3654, or email her at kerrie.lindecker@sen.ca.gov.