Posted on Categories Climate Change & Energy, Sonoma CoastTags , , ,

Mike McGuire's bill on offshore oil drilling stalls in California Assembly

State Sen. Mike McGuire said Friday he will try again next year to pass an offshore oil drilling prohibition that failed twice in Sacramento in the face of pressure from oil industry lobbyists.
“Big Oil may have the money, but ultimately the people of California will win the fight to protect our coast,” said McGuire, a Healdsburg Democrat whose North Coast district covers 40 percent of the state’s 840-mile coast.
As evidence that public sentiment is on his side, McGuire cited a Public Policy Institute of California poll in July that found 56 percent of residents oppose offshore oil drilling, the same percentage that opposes fracking.McGuire’s bill, titled the California Coastal Protection Act of 2015, would have repealed an arcane loophole in state law that could allow new offshore oil and gas development in state waters, which extend out three miles from shore.
The bill, approved by the Senate on a 23-14 vote in June, died Thursday in an Assembly committee without a vote.The Western States Petroleum Association, which has plowed $50 million into lobbying state lawmakers and regulators in the last decade, publicly opposed it, and oil industry opposition was cited in the Assembly’s rejection of a similar measure last year.
Read more at: Mike McGuire’s bill on offshore oil drilling stalls | The Press Democrat

Posted on Categories Sonoma Coast, WildlifeTags , , , , Leave a comment on North Coast marine sanctuaries formally expanded 

North Coast marine sanctuaries formally expanded 

 Glenda Anderson, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Two North Coast national marine sanctuaries have formally been expanded to include an additional 2,769 square miles of ocean between Bodega Head to just north of Point Arena, permanently protecting the important stretch of critical habitat from oil drilling.
The expansion — the culmination of decades of effort by regulators, legislators, area residents and environmentalists — was formalized Tuesday, said Mary Jane Schramm, a spokeswoman with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which administers the nation’s underwater sanctuaries.
“We are delighted with the outcome,” she said Wednesday.The newly renamed Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary now extends from northwest of the San Francisco Bay to Point Arena. Together with the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, west of Bodega Head, they cover 4,581 square miles of ocean.

It’s the most significant expansion of ocean protection in California since 1992, when the 4,601-square-mile Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary — which stretches from Marin to Cambria — was established.

“This is a huge deal,” said Richard Charter, a senior fellow with the Washington D.C.-based Ocean Foundation who has been working on getting the expansion approved since the mid-1970s. The addition means that nearly 40 percent of the California Coast is protected from oil drilling. Fishing is allowed in sanctuaries.

But the work isn’t done. Even as they celebrate reaching one goal, North Coast environmental activists are looking toward the next.

Read more at: North Coast marine sanctuaries formally expanded | The Press Democrat