Senator Dave Min (D-Irvine) made the following statement today about Senate Bill (SB) 953, which seeks to end all offshore drilling in California state waters, did not pass out of the Senate Committee on Appropriation and was held on the Suspense File.
“Last year’s Orange County oil spill was another wake-up call on the risks that offshore drilling poses to our $44 billion coastal economy, our precious marine ecosystems, and our California way of life.
That spill of nearly 25,000 gallons of crude oil into the Pacific Ocean sent our small businesses into free fall. Beaches were closed to the public for ten days. Local fisheries and seafood markets suffered from two months of closures for contamination assessments. Dozens of animals, including endangered species, were found dead along with substantial damage to preserved wetland areas. This could have been much worse. Initially, the expectation was 125,000 gallons of crude spilled, which raised comparisons to the 2015 Refugio State Beach oil spill which closed down local beaches in Santa Barbara for six months.
In response to this oil spill, and community outrage about it, I introduced SB 953 earlier this year, to safeguard our coastal economy and our beaches. And while I am disappointed that SB 953 did not make it off of the Suspense File, I will continue to explore all mechanisms and pathways to try to remove oil rigs off the coast of California. We are continuing to talk with stakeholders to address some of the different substantive concerns, including the potential costs to taxpayers, and make this proposed legislation better.
I am also proud of the fact that SB 953 has jump-started an important and much-needed dialogue about how California can and must transition away from offshore oil extraction. The aging infrastructure of these offshore platforms means they are ticking time bombs. Another oil spill—and all of the associated environmental and economic damage—is inevitable unless we act now.
I remain committed to continuing to work on this issue, and I am hopeful that we will find a path forward.”