An oil platform in the Santa Barbara Channel. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Rep. Mike Levin has introduced a bill to ban new leasing for the exploration, development, or production of oil and natural gas along the Southern California coast.

The American Coasts and Oceans Protection Act would protect the coastline from San Diego to the northern border of San Luis Obispo County.

“The Southern California coast is home to world-renowned beaches, cherished marine life, and billions of dollars in ocean-based economic activity that are central to our quality of life but are threatened by offshore drilling,” said Levin, a Democrat who has championed environmental causes.

“My bill to ban new offshore drilling leases recognizes that it’s time to put our environment and our coastal economy first, not the fossil fuel companies that profit while polluting our coastline,” he said after introducing the legislation on Thursday.

Levin said the ocean economy accounts for nearly $8 billion in economic activity and 140,000 jobs in San Diego and Orange Counties but is threatened by oil contamination like the Refugio Beach spill of 2015.

The congressman is serving his second term representing the 49th District in north coastal San Diego and south Orange counties.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.