Former Deputy U.S. Interior Secretary Rep. Garamendi wants More Wind Mills, not Off-Shore Oil Drills after Senators Meet with President to Discuss Leasing America’s Coastlines to Oil Companies
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek, CA), President Bill Clinton’s Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Interior Department, today urged President Barack Obama and U.S. Senators to reject efforts to allow new drilling off California’s coast. A bipartisan group of Senators met with President Obama and other administrative officials yesterday to discuss the future of offshore oil drilling.
"Our beautiful coastlines are the birthright of every American, and I don’t want to see the California coast sold to oil companies with a track record of ecological catastrophe," said Congressman Garamendi. "Here and abroad, we’ve seen dozens of oil spills that have despoiled natural habitats and destroyed tourism and fishing economies. Just last year, a massive oil spill from an offshore oil rig near Australia lasted nearly three months, spewing at least six million gallons of oil over 9,000 square miles. There are better options."
As chair of the California State Lands Commission (SLC), then-Lieutenant Governor Garamendi cast the deciding vote blocking new offshore oil drilling in California, arguing that concessions in the proposal were unenforceable and that it would send a message to the federal government that California is comfortable with further drilling off its coast. When Governor Schwarzenegger attempted to bypass the authority of the SLC through the legislature, Garamendi helped lead the fight to block his efforts. The California Assembly ultimately rejected the proposal by a 28-43 vote.
"With the growing threat of climate change, we should devote our energy investments to conservation and renewable energy sources," Garamendi added. "As we continue developing a new green economy, let’s leave the fossil fuels where they belong: with the fossils."
In 2008, Congress allowed the federal moratorium on offshore oil drilling to lapse, opening up America’s coast to new drilling for the first time since 1981. Congressman Garamendi supports reinstituting the offshore oil drilling moratorium.