Senate Democrats Urge President Obama to Use Presidential Authority to Protect California’s Spectacular Coast

Friday, December 02, 2016

SACRAMENTO – Senate Democrats today asked President Obama take steps to permanently protect the federal waters off California by banning new offshore oil and gas drilling.

In a letter to President Obama, the Senators wrote California has “one of the most spectacular coastal area in the nation” that attracts visitors from around the world.

“A sizeable spill off our coast would have a devastating impact on our population, recreation, natural resources, and our ocean and coastal dependent economies,” the Senators wrote. “Expanded offshore oil and gas drilling also undermines the important strides we have made both as a state and as a nation to address climate change and promote a clean energy economy.”

The President has the authority to permanently block new oil and gas drilling under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, which has been used by several Presidents in the past to protect environmentally sensitive coastal areas, the Senators wrote.

Stating that California law generally prohibits new offshore leasing in state waters, the Senators noted that, “Federal waters off our beautiful coast deserve the same.”