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SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif.Oct. 4, 2017— The city councils in San Luis Obispo and Goleta yesterday approved resolutions opposing new fossil fuel drilling off the California coast and fracking in existing offshore oil and gas wells.
“San Luis Obispo residents don’t want to see oil platforms or spills spoiling our local beaches. We stand with the vast majority of Californians who strongly oppose offshore drilling and fracking,” San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon said. “President Trump may not understand climate science or the threat offshore drilling poses to wildlife and coastal communities. But we do, and we’ll fight to phase out dirty and dangerous drilling.”
The vote follows President Trump’s April 28 executive order urging federal agencies to expand oil and gas leasing in federal waters. Trump’s order could expose the Pacific Ocean to new oil leasing for the first time in more than 30 years.
“Thank you to Goleta for reaffirming the longstanding opposition to new oil leases in our region,” said Katie Davis, chair of Santa Barbara Sierra Club, which supported the Goleta resolution. “Goleta knows firsthand the impacts of oil spills. After the May 2015 oil spill there, over 300 dolphins, seals, sea lions, pelicans and other animals washed up dead. Their beaches were closed and their fishing and tourism industries took a big hit.”
This week’s resolutions were supported by the Center for Biological Diversity, which been organizing a series of California city resolutions opposing offshore drilling and fracking. Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Berkeley, Arcata and Cambria have passed resolutions opposing new offshore drilling, and several more communities are currently working on similar resolutions.
“The last thing Californians want is more drilling and fracking off our coast. San Luis Obispo, Goleta and other California cities are forming a wall of opposition to Trump’s reckless agenda,” said Blake Kopcho, an organizer at the Center. “Californians won’t let Trump endanger wildlife and our communities with oil spills and toxic fracking chemicals.”
Both the Goleta and San Luis Obispo resolutions call for:
- A ban on new offshore oil and gas drilling, fracking and other well stimulation in federal and state waters off the California coast;
- A phaseout of all offshore oil and gas extraction off California’s coast;
- A framework for responsible renewable energy development.
“The San Luis Obispo City Council has previously endorsed the proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary for the Central Coast,” said Andrew Christie, director of the Santa Lucia Chapter of the Sierra Club. “When that sanctuary is designated, we will all be glad we fought to ensure that the proscriptions against oil and gas drilling in marine sanctuaries that Trump is trying to eliminate will still exist.”
The last offshore lease in federal waters off California was in 1984, but Trump’s order seeks to renew the leasing program. There are more than 30 offshore drilling platforms and hundreds of miles of underwater oil and gas pipelines off California’s coast. Operators want permits to frack offshore wells, using chemicals that are toxic to wildlife.
Separate lawsuits filed by the state of California and the Center challenging the federal government’s approval of offshore fracking are pending in federal district court.