Congressman Garamendi, Environmental Groups, and Other Members of Congress Release Over 400,000 Comments Asking President to Ban New Offshore Oil Drilling
Congressmembers Castor, Garamendi, and Pallone talk
about the need to stop new deepwater oil drilling.
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek, CA) today joined Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL), Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), and representatives from Environment America, Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, Greenpeace, MoveOn, Oceana, League of Conservation Voters, the Partnership Project, and Ocean Champions to present more than 400,000 comments from across America in opposition to new offshore oil drilling. The comments were submitted to the President a day before the close of the comment period for the President’s Five Year Drilling Plan from 2012 to 2017.
"Do we need any more of a lesson than what we now see in the Gulf of Mexico? Yet in the halls of this Congress, there are many representatives that have not learned," Congressman Garamendi said. "The Republican Party is still saying 'drill, baby, drill' when we know it’s really 'spill, baby, spill.' Today 400,000 Americans are sending the powerful message that there are better alternatives."
The 400,000 comments came from a variety of sources and places: email alerts, door-to-door canvassing in coastal areas around the country, and postcards gathered at public events. Most coastal states and many inland states are represented in this outpouring of concern about offshore drilling.
"It’s time for us to move away from a dependence on oil. As long as we continue to seek that oil fix, we’ll continue the addiction," Garamendi added. "What if instead of massive oil subsidies and the inevitable cost of spill cleanup, we instead invested in renewable energy and conservation? Where would we be? We’re making choices here, and those choices determine whether we’ll have an ability to break our addiction to oil."
Under provisions in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), the President of the U.S. may administratively withdraw entire planning areas from consideration for leasing in the Nation’s drilling plan. Both Republican presidents, George H.W. Bush, and Democratic presidents, Bill Clinton, have used this power to protect areas of the U.S. coast from drilling.
Congressman Garamendi is the author of the West Coast Ocean Protection Act of 2010, a bill that would permanently ban all new oil and natural gas drilling from platforms in federal waters off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington. It presently has 37 cosponsors in the House and identical companion legislation in the Senate is supported by all six West Coast senators.