California Coasts Spared from Offshore Oil Drilling (For Now)
September 2, 2005
In 1969, Santa Barbara experienced a horrific offshore oil spill that covered 800 square miles within days and killed thousands of shore birds, dolphins, seals, and other animals. However, the horrors of this environmental disaster have not deterred oil companies or the Bush administration in their drive for oil exploration in the most sensitive areas of the California coast. Since 1999, the U.S. Minerals Management Service has been pushing to extend and renew leases in the region, and although a previous court ruling ordered them to consider environmental consequences, in February 2005 they declared that the drilling would have no significant environmental impacts. Sierra Club and a large coalition filed suit, and now the judge has ruled that the Bush administration must complete a serious environmental review of the impacts, including impacts from future exploration, development, and production.
In related news, the California Coastal Commission unanimously agreed to our related objections over renewal of the 37 leases in question. In its decision, the Commission also voted to defend the coasts by any means necessary, including potential lawsuits to stop the administration’s backwards plans that would threaten America’s most treasured places. For now, California’s coasts will remain oil free.
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