featured graphc for California State Senator Dave Min representing District 37 after COVID-19

Senator Min, Senator Newman, and local leaders ask Orange County Congressional delegation to end all offshore drilling in federal waters along California’s coast

California State Senators Dave Min (Irvine) and Josh Newman (Fullerton), who represent roughly half of Orange County, sent a letter earlier today to Orange County’s federal legislative representatives asking them to lead a legislative effort to end all offshore drilling in federal waters off the coast of California, including drilling performed under current leases. Such action would go beyond the push to end future drilling in federal waters, such as Senator Dianne Feinstein’s West Coast Ocean Preservation Act, which would stop all new offshore drilling in federal waters in the Pacific Ocean, or Rep. Mike Levin’s American Coasts and Oceans Protection Act, which would stop new offshore drilling in federal waters off the coast of Southern California, by also ending all drilling under currentfederal leases.

This call for action, which is also supported by local elected officials representing the areas most impacted by the oil spill, including Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr, Huntington Beach Mayor Pro Tem Barbara Delgleize, Huntington Beach Councilmembers Rhonda Bolton, Dan Kalmick, Natalie Moser, and the City of Laguna Beach, as well as Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen and Laguna Beach Councilmembers Peter Blake, Toni Iseman, Sue Kempf, and George Weiss, builds on Senator Min’s announcement from Tuesday that he would introduce legislation seeking to end all offshore drilling and aggregation under existing leases in California waters. It is the first formal call to end all offshore drilling—not just future drilling—in federal waters off of California’s coastline.

“I am grateful for the strong environmental leadership of so many California members of Congress, but the Orange County Oil Spill makes clear that we must go further,” said Senator Min, who represents the cities of Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, and Laguna Beach, the coastal cities most impacted by this spill. “A moratorium on future drilling in federal waters would not have prevented this spill, nor would it have prevented any of the major oil spills that have terrorized our beautiful coastal ecosystems over the past 40 years. We must put an end to ALL offshore drilling, including current drilling in federal waters.”

“As California continues making the transition to clean energy, ending offshore oil drilling should be at the top of the state’s energy to-do list,” said State Senator Josh Newman, who represents portions of Orange, San Bernardino and Los Angeles Counties. “The recent spill off the coast of Orange County proves once again that accidents can and will occur, and how at this point the costs to both the environment and the economy far outweigh the current benefits of offshore oil extraction. Moving away from offshore drilling is the right thing to do as we replace it with other less hazardous and more sustainable sources of energy to power California’s future.”

California’s beaches and coastal ecosystems “draw over 150 million visitors each year, facilitating a $44 billion coastal economy that employs over half a million Californians. The economic impacts of the Orange County oil spill are likely to be significant and to last for some time. The economic benefits of offshore drilling are miniscule by comparison.”

The letter goes on to state: “We recognize that ending all federal offshore oil drilling off the coast of California is a complicated endeavor, and that legislation towards this end will likely face significant political opposition from the oil and gas industries. But given the economic and environmental impacts of this Orange County Oil Spill, and the future risks that offshore drilling poses to our precious coastal communities, we are urging you to be Orange County’s champions in the United States Congress and commit to ending all offshore drilling, including under current leases, in federal waters off the coast of California.”

This article was released by the Office of Senator Dave Min.
Dear Senators Feinstein and Padilla and Congressmembers Sanchez, Kim, Porter, Correa, Lowenthal, Steel, and Levin,

As elected officials representing Orange County, including the areas most impacted by the recent Orange County Oil Spill, we are writing to urge you, as Orange County’s Congressional delegation, to propose and champion legislation that would end ALL offshore oil drilling, including drilling performed under current leases, in federal waters near the California coast.

As you know, there was a significant oil spill off the Orange County coast several days ago, underscoring the need to take swift action. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response first received notification of an observed sheen in federal waters several miles off the coast of Huntington Beach, CA at 10:22pm on Friday, October 1. The spill originated from a pipeline running from the Port of Long Beach to an offshore oil platform known as Elly, which is operated by Beta Offshore, a subsidiary of Amplify Energy. It is estimated that as much as 130,000 gallons of oils have spilled into the ocean, representing one of the largest oil spills our state has seen in decades.

The oil slick created has already touched land in the cities of Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, and Laguna Beach and continues to threaten the shorelines of Southern California. While we are in the early stages of this spill, our community is bracing for potentially devastating impacts to wildlife, public health, the environment, and local and regional economies.

The Orange County oil spill is unfortunately not an isolated incident in our state. California’s coast has been the site of several large oil spills, including the following: [1]

  • In 1969, a blowout of a Union Oil drilling rig platform off the coast of Santa Barbara resulted in a spill of 4.2 million gallons of crude oil into the ocean and onto nearby shores.
  • In 1971, 800,000 gallons of bunker fuel spilled in San Francisco Bay, with a devastating impact on local species.
  • In Huntington Beach in 1990, the American Trader oil tanker spilled more than 416,000 gallons of crude oil, killing an estimated 3,400 birds.
  • In 2007, a container ship struck the Bay Bridge and spilled 58,000 gallons of bunker fuel into San Francisco Bay.
  • On May 19, 2015 a crude oil pipeline spilled 100,000 gallons into the ocean at Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County.

Several of you have already signaled support for Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)’s West Coast Ocean Preservation Act, which would stop all new offshore drilling in the Pacific Ocean, or Congressmember Mike Levin’s American Coasts and Oceans Protection Act, which would stop new offshore drilling in federal waters off the coast of Southern California. We applaud this strong action, but we urge you to push further by seeking to not only stop all new offshore drilling but also to end drilling and aggregation performed under existing leases in federal waters as well.

As you may be aware, California has not issued new offshore oil leases for over 50 years and has intentionally foregone revenue from any new leases and the associated offshore oil development in state waters and federal waters. The Legislature, Governor, and State Lands Commission have repeatedly called upon the federal government to prohibit offshore oil development in federal waters off the California coast.

Offshore oil drilling threatens California’s economy, natural resources, and military assets. Our beautiful beaches and coastal ecosystems are famous throughout the world, and draw over 150 million visitors each year, facilitating a $44 billion coastal economy that employs over half a million Californians. The economic impacts of the Orange County oil spill are likely to be significant and to last for some time. The economic benefits of offshore drilling are miniscule by comparison.

We recognize that ending all federal offshore oil drilling off the coast of California is a complicated endeavor, and that legislation towards this end will likely face significant political opposition from the oil and gas industries. But given the economic and environmental impacts of this Orange County Oil Spill, and the future risks that offshore drilling poses to our precious coastal communities, we are urging you to be Orange County’s champions in the United States Congress and commit to ending all offshore drilling, including under current leases, in federal waters off the coast of California.

We thank you for your consideration and for your tireless advocacy on behalf of our communities.

Sincerely,

CA Senator Dave Min (SD37) CA Senator Josh Newman (SD29)

Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr* Huntington Beach Mayor Pro Tem Barbara Delgleize*

Huntington Beach Councilmember Dan Kalmick* Huntington Beach Councilmember Natalie Moser*

Huntington Beach Councilmember Rhonda Bolton* Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen

Laguna Beach Mayor Pro Tempore Sue Kempf Laguna Beach Councilmember Peter Blake

Laguna Beach Councilmember Toni Iseman Laguna Beach Councilmember George Weiss