Marin County, Calif.— Among the hundreds of people rallying at California’s capitol yesterday against President Trump’s offshore drilling plan were three West Marin environmental organizations: Turtle Island Restoration Network, West Marin Environmental Action Committee and Ocean Conservation Research.
Among the chanting, signs, and marching were large inflatables of dolphins and sea turtles, marine species that have been and would be impacted by an offshore oil spill.
“Trump’s offshore oil drilling proposal is a death warrant for whales, dolphins and sea turtles and we will do everything we can to stop it,” said Todd Steiner, executive director of Turtle Island Restoration Network. “Extracting and burning more fossil fuels now will wreck our planet and is tantamount to stealing from our children and grandchildren.”
The Marin County groups, along with other environmental and ocean organizations, rallied at the capitol building then marched their way to the Sacramento public library where a a federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management hearing was held.
“The hearing itself was like a science fair,” said Dylan Bedortha, advocacy associate with Turtle Island Restoration Network. “The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management had different tables with handouts explaining why domestic oil and specifically offshore drilling isn’t as bad as we think it is. People weren’t buying it.”
Trump’s proposal would place thousands of miles of America’s coast at risk from oil and gas operations, including catastrophic oil spills like the Deepwater Horizon that spewed 134 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and the 1969 Santa Barbara spill which spewed over 3 million gallons of oil into the ocean, killing thousands of seabirds, sea mammals and other marine life.
“Marin County’s shoreline borders the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, eight Marine Protected Areas, and three special closures,” said Morgan Patton, executive director of the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin. “The waters off Marin County are globally significant and provide a productive marine ecosystem, abundant wildlife, and valuable fisheries. The priceless biodiversity and thriving marine ecosystems of northern California waters are uniquely vulnerable to the impacts of an oil spill or fracking.”
Earlier this year, the Marin County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution to protect California’s coast from offshore drilling and fracking. California hasn’t approved new offshore oil and gas leases since 1984. Currently, there are more than 30 offshore drilling platforms and hundreds of miles of underwater oil and gas pipelines off California’s coast.
“It is pretty clear that the Administration’s Outer Continental Shelf proposal is a case of extreme government overreach, handing the management of our public assets over to the oil industry while gutting safety standards and environmental protections,” said Michael Stocker, executive director of Ocean Conservation Research. “The ‘listening session’ was a deliberately mushy version of a public hearing, with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management career staff doing their best to present the proposal under the remit of BOEM – while encouraging the public to express our opinions in detail to the agency.”
Turtle Island Restoration Network is an international marine conservation organization headquartered in California whose 150,000+ members and online activists work to protect sea turtles and marine biodiversity in the United States and around the world.
West Marin Environmental Action Committee’s work strives to provide long-term protection and conservation of the unique ecosystems and rural communities of West Marin, and serves as a foundation of environmental protection for future generations.
Ocean Conservation Research seeks to understand the impacts of human generated noise on marine life – using our understanding to inform ocean policy and practice.