Letters to the Editor

Marine sanctuary needed

You’ve printed several letters claiming that because we’re protected from future offshore drilling by a local ordinance and we have lots of other regulations, we don’t need a national marine sanctuary (“Offshore oil unlikely,” Oct. 15).

In 1981, the Government Accountability Office issued a report with the title “Marine Sanctuaries Program Offers Environmental Protections and Benefits Other Laws Do Not.” In 2008, the Department of Commerce reaffirmed that finding.

Many coastal communities have local ordinances requiring voter approval for facilities to service offshore oil operations. A local ordinance is easily overturned by the kind of money oil companies can bring to bear when they decide the price of oil warrants the effort. The state Legislature regularly tries (and fails) to pass bills to fend off more oil rigs and inevitable spills. Two Northern California sanctuaries were just expanded to permanently protect more of our coast from oil drilling.

On Oct. 9, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that the nomination for a Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary met all the requirements for a sanctuary on the Central Coast and merits consideration for designation.

Yes, we need a national marine sanctuary.

David Georgi, Shell Beach