Congressman Garamendi Pleased with President Obama’s Decision to Suspend New East Coast Oil Drilling Leases for Seven Years
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek, CA), the author of legislation that would ban all new drilling leases on the West Coast, today praised President Barack Obama’s decision to suspend new oil drilling leases for seven years in federal waters on the East Coast.
"We must reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Offshore oil drilling is best left in the dustbins of history. It’s dirty; it’s dangerous; it’s deadly," Congressman Garamendi said. "President Obama is wise to call for a seven year moratorium on new drilling leases on the East Coast. Oil poisons our air and water, wreaks havoc on our climate, and threatens jobs in many of our nation’s most important industries."
"Our economy needs robust investments in American-made clean energy and conservation. Make It In America to create the jobs of the future," Garamendi added. "We need to be clean energy hawks, because the slick oiled alternatives to clean energy harm every one of us and our country’s future prosperity."
On May 5, 2010, a few weeks after the devastating Deepwater Horizon platform explosion in the Gulf Coast, Congressman Garamendi introduced H.R. 5213, the West Coast Ocean Protection Act of 2010. The legislation would permanently prohibit new offshore oil and natural gas leases on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in federal waters off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington. WCOPA is co-sponsored by 37 members of Congress, including all coastal representatives from Monterey to the Canadian border. Identical companion legislation was introduced in the Senate with the support of all six West Coast senators.
Congressman Garamendi is one of the nation’s leading opponents to new offshore oil drilling leases. In January 2009, then-Lieutenant Governor Garamendi, in a two-to-one decision at the California State Lands Commission, voted to block new drilling at the PXP platform off the coast of Santa Barbara. During an attempt to bypass the longstanding independent authority of the State Lands Commission, Garamendi led the fight to stop what would have been the first new offshore oil drilling lease in more than four decades in California. The California Assembly ultimately defeated the Governor’s proposal by a 28-43 vote. Following the Deepwater Horizon spill, which vindicated Garamendi’s concerns, Governor Schwarzenegger abandoned his attempts to open California’s coast to new drilling.