Washington, D.C.- On the first day of the 115th Congress, Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) led 14 coastal lawmakers in reintroducing the West Coast Ocean Protection Act, a bill to permanently protect the California, Oregon, and Washington coasts from the dangers of offshore drilling, safeguarding the $44 billion coastal economies of the region that support nearly 650,000 jobs. The bill was introduced today in the United States Senate by Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), along with all six California, Oregon, and Washington Senators.
While President Obama recently used his authority under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to protect areas in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans from oil and gas drilling, he has yet to protect key areas of the Pacific Ocean. The new legislation, H.R. 169, would amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to prohibit new oil or natural gas leases in federal waters off the coast of the continental U.S., from Mexico to Canada.
“On the West Coast, our coastal communities, local economies, and fragile ocean ecosystems cannot afford another disastrous oil spill,” said Rep. Huffman. “Californians witnessed years of environmental and economic damage caused by the horrific 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill and we cannot allow Big Oil to perpetuate their negligent drilling spree in our precious and spectacular waters. The West Coast Ocean Protection Act would permanently protect our pristine coastlines for future generations and ensure their interests are put above the short-term profits of Big Oil. With his pick of the Exxon C.E.O as Secretary of State, as well as his personal financial stakes in the oil and gas industry, President-elect Trump proved his true priorities will lie with further lining the pockets of industry executives and not with the people who would be affected by an oil spill. A true ‘America first’ energy policy keeps oil off our beaches and invests in home-grown renewable sources of power. I urge President Obama to take action now, while he still has the authority to do so, to permanently protect our oceans from oil and gas drilling.”
Congressman Huffman has long been a leader in the fight against offshore drilling and to expand renewable energy and create clean energy jobs.
Huffman authored the Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act to prohibit new or renewed oil and gas leasing in the Arctic Ocean Planning Areas. That legislation would stop new leasing for the exploration, development, or production of oil, natural gas or any other minerals in the Arctic Ocean and not allow for any renewal of existing leases.
He is also the lead House sponsor of the Keep It In The Ground Act, which would reduce carbon emissions and our nation’s addiction to fossil fuels by permanently barring new fossil fuel leases on all federal public lands and in federal waters.
The West Coast Ocean Protection Act is cosponsored by Representatives Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Derek Kilmer (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Scott Peters (D-CA), John Garamendi (D-CA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR).