Guy Kovner, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Permanent protection from oil drilling off the Sonoma and southern Mendocino County coast appears imminent, anti-drilling advocates and local officials said Monday, as a federal agency unveiled a plan to expand two protected areas along the scenic shoreline.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a plan to more than double the size of two marine sanctuaries, extending their northern boundary from Bodega Bay more than 60 miles north to Point Arena.
Offshore oil or gas exploration, development and production would be prohibited throughout the expanded sanctuaries, a holy grail sought by environmentalists since the late 1970s.
“This particular victory for the ocean was 35 years in the making,” said Richard Charter of Bodega Bay, a veteran coastal protection advocate.