Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement on the oil spill off the coast of Orange County:
“The oil spill off the coast of Orange County reiterates the perils of offshore drilling. A pipeline failure has leaked an estimated 126,000 gallons of oil, killing aquatic wildlife, threatening the health of local communities and forcing several beaches to close.
“My office has been in contact with the Coast Guard and we’re working to ensure all federal resources are immediately available, as well as a disaster declaration should one be necessary.
“However, this spill highlights why we must also take action to prevent future spills, including passing the West Coast Ocean Protection Act. Our bill would permanently ban oil and gas drilling in federal waters off the coast of California, Oregon and Washington.
“Californians have made it clear: We don’t want oil drilling off our coast. It’s time to stop dangerous offshore drilling and invest in safer, cleaner energy solutions.”
- Senator Feinstein introduced the West Coast Ocean Protection Act in January. Representative Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) introduced companion legislation in the House. It has the support of nine cosponsors including every senator from Washington, Oregon and California.
- Senator Feinstein’s bill, along with a similar ban off the Atlantic and Eastern Gulf coasts, was included in a House version of the budget reconciliation bill.
- California blocked all new offshore drilling in state waters after the 1969 Santa Barbara spill, which leaked 3 million gallons of crude oil into the ocean. It was the largest U.S. oil spill until the Exxon Valdez spill 20 years later.
- New offshore drilling leases in federal waters off California’s coast have been successfully blocked since 1984, but only a permanent ban will ensure coastal economies and marine ecosystems are protected from new drilling and potential spills.