Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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Federal Scientists Estimate Gulf Oil Spill Leaks an Exxon-Valdez Disaster’s Worth of Oil a Week, Far Above Original Estimates

June 11, 2010
Press Release

Further Evidence that New Platform Drilling Must be Banned, Rep. Garamendi Says

WALNUT CREEK, CA – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek, CA) today reaffirmed his opposition to new platform oil drilling leases after U.S. Geological Survey Director Marcia McNutt said the Deepwater Horizon oil platform disaster is likely spewing 20,000 to 40,000 barrels of oil a day. Since the leak began on April 20th, BP has insisted that 5,000 barrels of oil have leaked daily.

"BP told us their platform was leaking 5,000 barrels of oil a day. Once again, BP was wrong, and they should be held accountable for the mess they’ve made," Congressman Garamendi said. "It is now projected that the Gulf Coast oil disaster is the equivalent to one Exxon-Valdez oil spill a week. We are left with one unshakable conclusion; platform drilling is simply too dangerous."

Congressman Garamendi is the author of the West Coast Ocean Protection Act of 2010, a bill that would ban all new oil and natural gas leases from platforms in federal waters off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington. The bill presently has 37 cosponsors and is supported by dozens of environmental and industry groups. Identical companion legislation in the Senate is supported by all six West Coast senators.

"The Gulf Coast disaster is a painful reminder that we can’t take our environmental treasures for granted," Garamendi added. "There are a number of good bills working their way through Congress that address the oil spill, and I will continue to do all I can to pass legislation that safeguards our coast. One oil catastrophe is one catastrophe too many."

Thousands of miles of coastline and thousands of square miles of fisheries are threatened because of the Gulf Coast oil spill. More than 400 species of wildlife are also at risk. There were 38 blowouts in the Gulf of Mexico between 1992 and 2006.

The coast of California provides the state $22 billion in annual economic activity and employs 369,000 people. In Oregon the coast generates $1 billion annually in economic activity and employs 17,000 people. In Washington, 150,000 people are employed with and over $8 billion in annual economic activity.