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Victory in California

For Immediate Release

Contact:  Gina Goodhill, Environment California. 213-447-8583
Contact:  Stefanie Sekich, Surfrider Foundation. 619-807-0551
April 20, 2010
Sacramento, CA – Environment California and the Surfrider Foundation applaud the Natural Resources Committee for soundly defeating AB 2719 last night, a bill that would have opened all California’s coast to new oil drilling leases.
“Last night’s vote was a victory for Californians,” said Gina Goodhill, ocean advocate with Environment California.  “We have said it before and we’ll say it again: we do not want new drilling in our state.”
The bill, authored by Assemblymember Devore(R-Irvine), would have marked the first new drilling in state waters in 40 years.  It would have repealed provisions of the Coastal Sanctuaries Act of 1994 to allow new drilling leases.
Whether through exploring, drilling, holding or transportation, offshore drilling is a dirty and dangerous process that threatens California’s environment every step of the way.  Not only is it a danger to marine animals and local communities, it directly threatens California’s $43 billion ocean economy, most of which comes from fishing and tourism.
The bill was proposed under the guise of providing new money to the state during an economic crisis.   There are smarter and safer ways to provide money to the state without opening new drilling.  The Oil Industry Fair Share Act, authored by Assemblymember Nava, would enact a 10% severance tax on every barrel of oil drilled in the state.  California is the only major oil producing state that does not currently have a severance tax.  This tax in California would generate roughly $1.5 billion for the state annually. 
“On the eve of the 40 th anniversary of Earth Day, a holiday that was started after the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, California’s leadership is sending a strong message that our coastlines will not be spoiled by new drilling.” said Stefanie Sekich Coastal Campaign Specialist for the Surfrider Foundation.