Environment

Congressman Salud Carbajal leads SLO rally against offshore oil drilling

San Luis Obispo County officials and community leaders joined Congressman Salud Carbajal Wednesday to protest the U.S. Interior Department’s proposal to open federal waters off California to offshore oil drilling and encourage residents to submit their comments on the plan.

“We do not want oil development off our coast. ... It’s important for us to stand up, speak up and fight for our coast to make sure our environment and local economy are not put at risk,” Carbajal said at the rally.

About 120 people surrounded the speakers near the San Luis Obispo Superior Courthouse steps, holding signs reading “Protect Our Ocean” and collecting signatures in support of a local initiative to ban the controversial oil extraction method of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking.

Offshore Oil Rally017
Elly Cannon, left, and Gail McBride holds signs voicing their opposition to offshore oil drilling during a rally Wednesday in front of the county courthouse in San Luis Obispo. Joe Johnston jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Rally speakers included San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon, Morro Bay Mayor Jamie Irons, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council Chairwoman P.J. Webb, and San Luis Obispo County District 2 Supervisor Bruce Gibson.

At a Feb. 6 meeting, Gibson was unsuccessful at persuading the Board of Supervisors’ three conservative members to approve a resolution signifying the county’s opposition to the Trump administration’s oil plan. Gibson said his three colleagues were “mute and moot” on the issue and not reflecting their constituencies.

“I don’t mind the voices of dissent ... in this county. They are trivially few,” Gibson said. “The purpose for being here today is to solidify our support for moving forward with what we know is right for this county.”

Public comments for the federal oil expansion proposal are due by March 9 and can be submitted at goo.gl/YHsT9F.

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