Drilling in the Santa Barbara Channel. Photo: Ken Lund. Creative Commons license.

From the office of Rep. Jared Huffman:

As part of a coordinated state and national effort to protect the entirecoastline of the United States from the dangers of offshore oil drilling, and send a strong message of opposition to the Trump administration’s attempted drilling spree in public waters, Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) today reintroduced the West Coast Ocean Protection Act and the Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act.

“The science and wave of public opposition is clear: America’s oceans must be protected from dangerous offshore drilling,” said Rep. Huffman. “Opening our public waters up to oil and gas companies puts fragile ecosystems in jeopardy for environmental catastrophe. We cannot stand idly by while the Trump administration places the short-term profit goals of polluters over the long-term interests of the American people. I’m glad to join today’s nationwide effort to block offshore drilling by introducing my legislation to give the Pacific Coast and Arctic Ocean the protections they deserve, shielding our oceans from reckless exploitation.” 

In addition to Rep. Huffman’s introduction of the West Coast Ocean Protection Act and the Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act, Rep. Cunningham (D-SC) is introducing the Coastal Economies Protection Act, Rep. Carbajal (D-CA) is introducing the California Clean Coast Act, Rep. McEachin (D-VA) is introducing the Defend Our Coast Act, Rep. Pallone (D-NJ) is introducing the Clean Ocean and Safe Tourism Anti-Drilling Act, Rep. Cicilline (D-RI) is introducing the New England Coastal Protection Act, and Rep. Castor (D-FL) is introducing the Florida Coastal Protection Act.

State legislators from seven states today also announced their efforts to protect their coasts and economies by blocking offshore drilling in state waters now and in the future.

The West Coast Ocean Protection Act would permanently protect the California, Oregon, and Washington coasts by amending the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to prohibit new oil or natural gas leases in each state’s outer continental shelves and permanently protect the $44 billion coastal economies of the three states, which support nearly 650,000 jobs.

“We applaud this effort to safeguard America’s coasts from the Trump administration’s reckless offshore drilling expansion plans,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. “Elected officials on both sides of the aisle understand that offshore drilling threatens coastal economies, wildlife, and our climate — all for the sake of corporate polluter profits. It’s time for the administration to listen to the coastal communities, members of Congress, and millions of Americans who have spoken out against offshore drilling, and withdraw this dangerous proposal.”

The Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act would make the Arctic Ocean off-limits to any future drilling proposals by prohibiting any new or renewed leases for the exploration, development, or production of oil, natural gas or any other minerals in the Arctic Ocean Planning Areas of the Outer Continental Shelf.

“We one hundred percent support Reps. Jared Huffman and Raul Grijalva and House Democrats moving legislation to protect America’s coastlines from dangerous offshore development,” said Leah Donahey, legislative director at Alaska Wilderness League. “The Arctic in particular is fragile and remote with little to no infrastructure to deal with potential oil spills. The region continues to warm, and this warming is reflected in the increasingly extreme climate-related events we’re seeing across the continent. Sea ice is disappearing, and iconic Arctic species like polar bears face an uncertain future. Simply put, it would be irresponsible to drill there.”