Venice Beach Credit: Steve Christensen Photo
Calling any new oil and gas drilling off the coast a “clear and ever-present danger to the health and safety of millions of residents, businesses and economies,” City Councilmember Mike Bonin today called on the City of Los Angeles to formally oppose and fight any efforts to allow new oil or gas drilling off the western coast of the United States.
This morning, President Donald J. Trump signed the “America First Offshore Energy Executive Order,” which opens the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic Oceans up to oil and gas drilling. The last drilling lease sale for offshore drilling in California was in 1984, and the City of Los Angeles has a long history of successfully opposing any new drilling off the coast.
“President Trump’s Executive Order threatens our beaches, harbors, and waterways, and we must stand up to protect our environment by fighting his destructive and dangerous action,” said Bonin. “After the Santa Barbara spill in 1969 and the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, I’m shocked the President hasn’t learned the simple lesson that drilling for oil and gas is dirty, dangerous and doomed to catastrophe. Los Angeles will do the right thing, and we’ll stand up and fight back against any new attempts to drill off our coast.”
In 1969, as much as 100,000 barrels of oil gushed into the Pacific Ocean after a blowout at a drilling platform in the Santa Barbara Channel. The spill had a significant impact on marine life in the Channel, killing an estimated 3,500 seabirds, as well as marine animals such as dolphins, elephant seals, and sea lions.
The aftermath of the Santa Barbara spill, which is credited with launching the modern environmental movement, continued for decades, with new legislation signed into law to restrict new drilling off the coast. In 1988, under the leadership of former Los Angeles City Councilmembers Marvin Braude and Zev Yaroslavsky, the Los Angeles City Council sponsored voter-approved Proposition O, which effectively ended new oil drilling off the Los Angeles coast.
More recently, President Barack Obama signed an executive order in December 2016 that banned any new oil and gas drilling off the coast of California under Section 12(a) of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA). President Trump’s Executive Order undoes many of the protections put in place by previous administrations, and will potentially allow new drilling to occur off the Western coast.
“Drilling for oil and gas offshore puts coastal communities at risk, and burning oil and gas anywhere puts the future of our planet at risk,” added Bonin. “Los Angeles and California are leading the way to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future. Offshore drilling is dangerous, irresponsible, and unnecessary, and we refuse to turn back.”
Bonin’s motion, which was considered by the City Council under a council rule allowing it to be heard on the same day it was introduced, was approved unanimously.