Press Releases

“There are some who believe that the only solution to our skyrocketing energy crisis is to drill, drill, and drill. And one of their primary targets is the Outer Continental Shelf.

Congress chose to protect these federal waters from oil exploitation in 1981. And Congress has voted to renew that ban every year since then.   

But today, these federal protections are under attack.

Let me be clear: lifting the moratoria is a false promise and an unnecessary risk.

A new investigative report from the House Committee on Natural Resources ( studied the current system of drilling permits on federal lands and in federal waters. And what they found is this: we simply cannot drill our way out of this problem.

Here’s what the report found:  

  • There is no correlation between increased drilling and lower gas prices. The number of drilling permits increased by 361 percent from 1999 to 2007. And yet gas prices more than doubled in that time. 
  • The vast majority of the oil and natural gas believed to be on the Outer Continental Shelf is already available for exploitation. In fact, 82 percent of natural gas and 79 percent of oil believed to exist on the Outer Continental Shelf is available for drilling throughout existing leases – right now.  
  • Oil and gas companies are failing to exploit the existing drilling permits they have been issued. In fact, there are 10,000 additional permits for 68 million acres of federal lands and waters where drilling leases have been issued, but are not being used to increase production.  And about 35.5 million acres of those existing, non-producing leases are located in federal waters.  

Efforts to reopen the federal waters off the coast of California to drilling could allow unreliable oil rigs to be as close as three miles to our beaches. 

Californians are all too familiar with the consequences of offshore drilling. An oil spill in 1969 off the coast of Santa Barbara killed thousands of birds, as well as dolphins, seals, and other marine animals.  And we know this could happen again. 

That’s why California has had in place additional protections to prohibit oil and gas drilling in State waters since 1994.  The people of California feel strongly about protecting the coast of California from offshore drilling. And so do I.         

Bottom line: we need a real, long-term strategy to address our nation’s addiction to fossil fuels.  We need to reduce our energy consumption. To make the shift towards renewable energy and clean technology.   

This – and not the mantra of drilling – is the solution to our energy crisis. This is the way forward. The choice could not be clearer.”