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Rep. Garamendi Thanks West Coast Senators for their Leadership in Stopping New Offshore Oil Leases on the West Coast

May 13, 2010
Press Release

Bill a Companion to Legislation Garamendi Introduced Last Week

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WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek, CA) expressed his gratitude to all six Senators from California, Oregon, and Washington after they introduced legislation today that would stop all new offshore oil and natural gas leases in federal waters from platforms off the West Coast. Rep. Garamendi introduced identical legislation last week, the West Coast Ocean Protection Act of 2010, H.R. 5213, which presently has 28 cosponsors. Garamendi issued the following statement:

"I want to take this opportunity to thank Senators Boxer, Cantwell, Feinstein, Merkley, Murray, and Wyden for standing up for the Pacific Coast. Now that the House and Senate have identical bills to stop all new leases from platforms off federal waters on the West Coast, our chances of success have significantly increased.

"The Gulf Coast oil spill provides a painful reminder of the consequences of offshore oil drilling. More than 400 species of wildlife are at risk; ocean-based economies are being devastated; and thousands of miles of coastline are threatened.

"I introduced the West Coast Ocean Protection Act of 2010 last week to help save the Pacific Coast I love from ruination. To date we have 28 cosponsors, and all coastal districts from the Canadian border to Monterey support our bill. We have allies on the East Coast and federal territories, and more than 20 environmental organizations have lined up behind this critical legislation.

"I look forward to working with our friends in both houses of Congress to put this legislation on the President’s desk. The public now understands the horrifying consequences of offshore oil drilling, and I’m convinced the tide has turned."

The West Coast Ocean Protection Act of 2010 has been cosponsored by California Representatives Howard Berman, Judy Chu, Susan Davis, Anna Eshoo, Sam Farr, Bob Filner, Jane Harman, Mike Honda, Barbara Lee, Zoe Lofgren, Doris Matsui, George Miller, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Adam Schiff, Brad Sherman, Jackie Speier, Pete Stark, Mike Thompson, Maxine Waters, and Lynn Woolsey, Oregon Representatives Earl Blumenauer, Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrader, and David Wu, and Washington Representatives Brian Baird and Norman Dicks. It has also been endorsed by Rep. Rush Holt of New Jersey and Rep. Gregorio Sablan of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Rep. Garamendi is a long established leader in the fight against platform offshore oil drilling. In January 2009, then-Lieutenant Governor, 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. Although President Obama has established a temporary administrative moratorium, the West Coast is unprotected on a congressional level.