At a meeting in Cambria, the Coastal Commission on Wednesday voted unanimously to join state leaders and urge that California be removed from a program to open new oil and gas leases off its shores, saying that the state merits the same exemption given to Florida.
“We were outraged to learn that BOEM (Bureau of Ocean Energy Management) had recklessly threatened the health of California’s coastal environment and the future of its multi-trillion-dollar economy by proposing to expand drilling off the coast,” the commission wrote in a letter to the Trump administration and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
BOEM is holding the only public meeting in California about the program in Sacramento on Thursday.
The letter points to a 3 million-gallon oil spill off the coast in Santa Barbara in 1969 as one of contributing factors to the creation of the agency.
“California depends on the international draw of its iconic beaches and ocean waters, and it is the Coastal Commission’s mandate to protect this fragile and precious natural resource,” the letter says.
Citizens who attended the commission meeting in Cambria were strongly opposed to the Trump administration’s plan to open federal waters to offshore drilling, expressing concern for the threat of oil byproducts on marine wildlife, the health of the coastal economy and continued investment in fossil fuel extraction in the face of climate change.