Senator Min, Senator Newman, and Local Leaders Ask Orange County Congressional Delegation to End All Offshore Drilling in Federal Waters Along California’s Coast

Huntington Beach, CA — California State Senators Dave Min (Irvine) and Josh Newman (Fullerton), who represent roughly half of Orange County, sent a letter earlier today to Orange County’s federal legislative representatives asking them to lead a legislative effort to end all offshore drilling in federal waters off the coast of California, including drilling performed under current leases. Such action would go beyond the push to end future drilling in federal waters, such as Senator Dianne Feinstein’s West Coast Ocean Preservation Act, which would stop all new offshore drilling in federal waters in the Pacific Ocean, or Rep. Mike Levin’s American Coasts and Oceans Protection Act, which would stop new offshore drilling in federal waters off the coast of Southern California, by also ending all drilling under current federal leases.

This call for action, which is also supported by local elected officials representing the areas most impacted by the oil spill, including Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr, Huntington Beach Mayor Pro Tem Barbara Delgleize, Huntington Beach Councilmembers Rhonda Bolton, Dan Kalmick, Natalie Moser, and the City of Laguna Beach, as well as Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen and Laguna Beach Councilmembers Peter Blake, Toni Iseman, Sue Kempf, and George Weiss, builds on Senator Min’s announcement from Tuesday that he would introduce legislation seeking to end all offshore drilling and aggregation under existing leases in California waters. It is the first formal call to end all offshore drilling—not just future drilling—in federal waters off of California’s coastline.

“I am grateful for the strong environmental leadership of so many California members of Congress, but the Orange County Oil Spill makes clear that we must go further,” said Senator Min, who represents the cities of Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, and Laguna Beach, the coastal cities most impacted by this spill. “A moratorium on future drilling in federal waters would not have prevented this spill, nor would it have prevented any of the major oil spills that have terrorized our beautiful coastal ecosystems over the past 40 years. We must put an end to ALL offshore drilling, including current drilling in federal waters.”

"As California continues making the transition to clean energy, ending offshore oil drilling should be at the top of the state’s energy to-do list," said State Senator Josh Newman, who represents portions of Orange, San Bernardino and Los Angeles Counties. “The recent spill off the coast of Orange County proves once again that accidents can and will occur, and how at this point the costs to both the environment and the economy far outweigh the current benefits of offshore oil extraction. Moving away from offshore drilling is the right thing to do as we replace it with other less hazardous and more sustainable sources of energy to power California’s future.”

California’s beaches and coastal ecosystems “draw over 150 million visitors each year, facilitating a $44 billion coastal economy that employs over half a million Californians. The economic impacts of the Orange County oil spill are likely to be significant and to last for some time. The economic benefits of offshore drilling are miniscule by comparison.”

The letter goes on to state: “We recognize that ending all federal offshore oil drilling off the coast of California is a complicated endeavor, and that legislation towards this end will likely face significant political opposition from the oil and gas industries. But given the economic and environmental impacts of this Orange County Oil Spill, and the future risks that offshore drilling poses to our precious coastal communities, we are urging you to be Orange County’s champions in the United States Congress and commit to ending all offshore drilling, including under current leases, in federal waters off the coast of California.”

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Dave Min represents California State Senate District 37, which is located in Orange County and includes the communities of Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Foothill Ranch, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Newport Beach, Orange, Tustin, and Villa Park.

 

Dave was a University of California Irvine law professor and a former economic policy staffer in the United States Senate and for the Center for American Progress. He began his legal career at the Securities and Exchange Commission to protect the retirement security of seniors, turning down high-paying jobs to serve the public interest. Dave and his wife Jane live and work in Irvine, where they are raising their three young children.