Every month that goes by under Trump’s presidency feels daunting as more policies are created. Reducing Bear’s Ears National Monument by 85 percent and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by nearly half was just the beginning of our wildlands being taken away from us. Now, the Trump administration has announced a proposal to expand offshore oil drilling into U.S. waters, threatening ocean recreation, tourism, and fishing industries. This proposal opens over 90 percent of the Outer Continental Shelf to new oil drilling and puts our ecosystems at a major risk of a catastrophic spill.
But, what does this oil drilling proposal mean?
The National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing program has been proposed to begin in 2019 and go through 2024 and is the largest number of offshore lease sales in U.S. history. A whopping 47 potential lease sales for oil companies are available to purchase. Of these, seven of them are in the Pacific Ocean, nineteen are off Alaska, twelve off the Gulf of Mexico, and nine in the Atlantic. The goal here, according to Trump, is to create jobs. What he’s missing here is the importance of keeping our environment safe and clean.
So what do we do?
Luckily, California has powerful legal tools to stop new offshore development; yet, these projects will be expensive. On top of that, the governors of California, Oregon, and Washington stated that they will do whatever it takes to block new leasing off their shores. In California, the state coastal commission also has the authority to review activities in federal waters to ensure they are consistent with the state’s coastal management plans. The commission holds power and has the ability to say “no” to actions that will harm the California coast.
Regardless of whether the odds are in California’s favor, we still need to stand together and take action. Contact officials and ask our federal government to protect our coasts from new offshore oil drilling!