The two congressmen representing most of coastal San Diego County called for a vote on national legislation to permanently ban new oil drilling off America’s coasts.
At a press conference on the oceanfront in Encinitas, Democratic Reps. Mike Levin and Scott Peters called for the House of Representatives to pass the Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act, and for Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to allow a vote on similar legislation in the Senate.
The House bill would prohibit the Department of the Interior from offering any undersea tracts for new oil and gas leases in the outer continental shelves of both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
“This is not a partisan issue,” said Levin. “Eighty percent of residents don’t want to see drilling rigs off the coast.”
Peters, whose 52nd District stretches from Coronado to La Jolla, noted that the 1989 Santa Barbara oil well blow-out — the third largest oil spill in history — was exactly 50 years ago.
He said a similar spill today off San Diego would severely disrupt the region’s $4 billion tourism economy as well as national-security operations by the Navy. Moreover, he said, America now has sufficient oil and low-cost natural gas — as well as growing alternative sources — to make risky offshore drilling unnecessary.
“There’s plenty of oil. With the energy needs we have, we don’t need to take the risk,” he said.
Levin said the Trump administration’s attempt to radically expand offshore drilling helps only the oil companies.
“This administration, this Department of Interior — it’s not that they’re too close to the oil industry, it’s that they are literally in the oil industry,” he said.
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