Proponents for a new National Marine Sanctuary off our coast keep repeating the mantra “We need a National Marine Sanctuary in order to stop offshore oil drilling.” What they continue to ignore is something called Measure A. Passed by SLO County voters in 1986, Measure A requires “ voter approval of any offshore oil facilities ” (See: SLO Co. LCP, 2011, page 343.)
Onshore support for staging people and materials is a necessary component of any offshore oil project. Without such facilities, men and material would have to use Channel Islands Harbor in Ventura. Thus, Measure A has already stopped offshore oil for 29 years!
Second, proponents tell us we need an NMS to stop overfishing. There are approximately 29 marine protected areas: underwater marine parks, reserves and preserves overlapping the Monterey Bay NMS south to Point Conception.
Locally, the Point Buchon State Marine Reserve prohibits all human use of living marine resources. We also have the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, National Marine Fisheries Service and Pacific Fishery Management Council managing fish resources.
Lastly, if the proposed NMS process begins, cities and counties will have to employ staff, at their own expense, for an estimated two to three years.