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Lowenthal, colleagues, demand immediate withdrawal of any new oil and gas leases off California coast

featured graphic for Congressman Alan Lowenthal

featured graphic for Congressman Alan Lowenthal

In an effort to head off last minute lame-duck Trump Administration efforts to expand offshore oil and gas drilling along the California coast, Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), today, led a letter with 21 of his House colleagues from the California Delegation in expressing their strong opposition to any expansion of oil and gas drilling off the coast of California.

In a letter to Department of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, co-led by Congressmen Salud Carbajal (CA-24), Jared Huffman (CA-2), and Mike Levin (CA-49), the Members demand the outgoing Trump Administration immediately withdraw any new oil and gas leasing off California from consideration in any future federal program.

The Members wrote, “The inevitable onshore and offshore risks associated with offshore drilling impact public health, the environment, and our climate. For these reasons, every single coastal governor along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, Republican and Democrat alike, has stood in opposition to offshore drilling. In coastal communities, where livelihoods are built around fishing, tourism, and recreation, it is critically important to guard against oil leaks or spills that could harm these ocean dependent economies and fragile marine ecosystems.”

The letter also points out that just three months ago President Trump, in response to loud outcry from coastal communities across the nation, issued a ten-year moratorium on offshore drilling in waters off Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.

The letter highlights California’s intimate history with off shore oil drilling impacts, most notably the 1969 oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, which at the time was the largest oil spill in the United States. This tragedy killed thousands of marine mammals, fish, and birds, and oil washed up on the beaches for hundreds of miles along Central and Southern California. In the 50 years since, there have been no new oil and gas leases in California state waters and no federal leases off California for more than 35 years.

The Members also highlight that the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster just 10 years ago highlights that offshore oil drilling is no safer today than it was in 1969.

While it is unlikely that the Trump Administration would be able to formalize any new leases before the Biden Administration takes office on January 20, the Members conclude their letter by demanding Secretary Bernhardt put an immediate halt during the Trump Administration’s remaining time in office to any consideration of new oil and gas leasing off California.

Click here to read the full text of the letter.

The letter was led by Congressmen Lowenthal, Salud Carbajal (CA-24), Jared Huffman (CA-2), and Mike Levin (CA-49). In addition, the letter was cosigned by Congressmembers Mike Thompson (CA-5), Doris O. Matsui (CA-6), Ami Bera (CA-7), Jerry McNerney (CA-9), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18), Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Adam B. Schiff (CA-28), Grace Napolitano (CA-32), Ted W. Lieu (CA-33), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Karen Bass (CA-37), Maxine Waters (CA-43), Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), and Juan Vargas (CA-51).

This article was released by the Office of Congressman Alan Lowenthal.

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