Celebrate this upcoming Earth Day with an end to drilling off our west coast!

Tell your legislators to pass the West Coast Ocean Protection Act!

“In 1969, a massive oil spill occurred in Santa Barbara. A U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson, visited the spill site and was inspired to establish the first national Earth Day on April 22, 1970. The first Earth Day saw 20 million Americans take to the streets and parks to express support for the environment. Public support for efforts to improve the environment led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the passage of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act.  Read more here.

Two Democratic members of Congress from California – Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Jared Huffman – have introduced H.R.470/S.22West Coast Ocean Protection Act, legislation intended to permanently ban oil and gas drilling in federal waters off the coast of California, Oregon and Washington.

Why do we need this?In 1994, California passed the California Coastal Sanctuary Act, which prohibited new leasing for offshore oil drilling in state waters. In 2018, however, the Trump administration released a five-year offshore leasing plan that proposed opening up the entire West Coast to new drilling. That proposal was blocked by the courts, but the threat of drilling will remain, said Senator Feinstein in a statement, until a permanent ban is enacted. The West Coast Ocean Protection Act, if passed, would provide that permanent ban.

Minimal script for cosponsoring legislators: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want to thank Rep./Sen. [___] for supporting the passage of [Rep. – H.R.470/ Sen. – S.22] the West Coast Ocean Protection Act. It’s been 54 years since the oil spill disaster that started Earth Day. It’s long past time to get this done.

Minimal script for NON-cosponsoring legislators: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want to Rep./Sen. [___] to cosponsor and support the passage of [Rep. – H.R.470/ Sen. – S.22] – West Coast Ocean Protection Act to permanently ban oil and gas drilling off the western coast of the United States. Not only are these wells risking another environmental disaster that endangers local economies and healthy marine ecosystems, but the companies that own them are wasting millions of our taxpayer dollars, as Rep. Katie Porter called out in 2021 in the House Committee on Natural Resources.

Who has already signed on?
H.R.470: Julia Brownley. Carbajal is NOT a cosponsor yet.
S.22: Senators Feinstein and Alex Padilla


  • Rep. Julia Brownley (CA-26): email, DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779
  • or Rep. Salud Carbajal (CA-24): email. DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348
  • Senator Feinsteinemail, DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
  • and Senator Padilla: email, DC (202) 224-3553, LA (310) 231-4494, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 981-9369, SD (619) 239-3884
  • Who is my rep./ senator?: https://whoismyrepresentative.com

Deeper Dive, no pun intended…

Watch on youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqd_VTADHzM

Excerpt from 1980 press release from Sen. Gaylord Nelson

Ten years ago this month, the environmental issue came of age in American political life. When April 22, 1970, dawned, literally millions of Americans of all ages and from all walks of life participated in Earth Day celebrations from coast to coast.

It was on that day that Americans made it clear that they understood and were deeply concerned over the deterioration of our environment and the mindless dissipation of our resources. That day left a permanent impact on the politics of America. It forcibly thrust the issue of environmental quality and resources conservation into the political dialogue of the Nation. That was the important objective and achievement of Earth Day. It showed the political and opinion leadership of the country that the people cared, that they were ready for political action, that the politicians had better get ready, too. In short, Earth Day launched the Environmental decade with a bang.

Now, ten years later, it has become popular in some circles to write the obituary of the environmental movement, to refer to the passing of the “golden era” for environmentalism. It is asserted that public interest has waned, that new worries have captured attention, that inflation, the energy crisis, and international conflict have superseded if not wiped out public concern over environmentalism.

Those who write that view are uninformed and far removed from the environmental scene or the politics surrounding it. In fact, the politics of environmentalism are so pervasive, from the grass roots to the national capital, that it is hard to believe even the most casual observer could miss it. To anyone who has paid attention, it is clear that the environmental movement now is far stronger, far better led, far better informed, and far more influential than it was ten years ago. Its strength grows each year because public knowledge and understanding grow each year.

How Did Earth Day 1970 Change the Nation?

My primary objective in planning Earth Day was to show the political leadership of the Nation that there was broad and deep support for the environmental movement. While I was confident that a nationwide peaceful demonstration of concern would be impressive, I was not quite prepared for the overwhelming response that occurred on that day. Two thousand colleges and universities, ten thousand high schools and grade schools, and several thousand communities in all, more than twenty million Americans participated in one of the most exciting and significant grassroots efforts in the history of this country.

Earth Day 1970 made it clear that we could summon the public support, the energy, and commitment to save our environment. And while the struggle is far from over, we have made substantial progress. In the ten years since 1970 much of the basic legislation needed to protect the environment has been enacted into law:

  • the Clean Air Act,
  • the Water Quality Improvement Act,
  • the Water Pollution and Control Act Amendments,
  • the Resource Recovery Act,
  • the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act,
  • the Toxic Substances Control Act,
  • the Occupational Safety and Health Act,
  • the Federal Environmental Pesticide Control Act,
  • the Endangered Species Act,
  • the Safe Drinking Water Act,
  • the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, and
  • the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act…

…So long as the human species inhabits the Earth, proper management of its resources will be the most fundamental issue we face. Our very survival will depend upon whether or not we are able to preserve, protect and defend our environment. We are not free to decide about whether or not our environment “matters.” It does matter, apart from any political exigencies. We disregard the needs of our ecosystem at our mortal peril.

That was the great lesson of Earth Day. It must never be forgotten.

Complete press release here.

01.24.23 press release from Rep. Jared Huffman

(View online here)

Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) today introduced the West Coast Ocean Protection Act to permanently ban oil and gas drilling in federal waters off the coast of California, Oregon and Washington.

“Offshore drilling poses unacceptable risks, and the science and public opinion are clear: we should not put our oceans and fisheries, coastal communities, economies, and planet at risk just to enrich the fossil fuel industry,” said Representative Huffman. “The world is transitioning to a green, clean energy future – and it is past time that we ban new offshore drilling and shift our investments to safe, renewable energy sources. Californians have experienced first-hand the environmental disasters caused by oil spills, and we are ready to put an end to that risk once and for all by permanently protecting our coasts.”

“The era of offshore oil and gas production in the Pacific is coming to a close,” said Senator Feinstein. “We’re in the midst of a historic transition to cleaner energy sources, including offshore wind. Offshore drilling and the risks it poses to the environment and our robust ocean and coastal economies are not part of that clean-energy future. It’s time to permanently ban new drilling leases in federal waters off the West Coast.”

California began efforts to block offshore drilling in 1969 when an oil rig off the coast of Santa Barbara leaked 3 million gallons of crude oil into the ocean, blanketing beaches with a thick layer of oil and killing thousands of marine mammals and birds. It was the largest oil spill in U.S. history until the Exxon Valdez spill 20 years later. After the 1969 Santa Barbara spill, California blocked all new offshore oil drilling in state waters, protecting our coastal waters up to three miles from the shore. The state reinforced that ban in 1994 by passing the California Coastal Sanctuary Act, which prohibited new leasing in state waters.

In October 2021, a ruptured pipeline from an existing oil well spilled more than 25,000 gallons of crude oil into the ocean and onto the beaches of Orange County. Despite numerous alarms, operators allowed oil to flow from the leak for over 14 hours. The spill covered more than 8,000 acres of the ocean’s surface and required more than a week of cleanup while local businesses and fisheries suffered.

No new offshore drilling has been allowed in federal waters along the Pacific Coast since 1984. However, the Trump administration released a five-year offshore leasing plan in 2018 that proposed opening up the entire West Coast to new drilling despite widespread opposition in Pacific coast states. That proposal was blocked by the courts but the threat of drilling will remain until a permanent ban is enacted.

The West Coast Ocean Protection Act would permanently protect these waters that are essential to coastal economies and healthy marine ecosystems. Nearly 70 percent of Californians opposed offshore drilling according to recent polling by the Public Policy Institute of California.

The bill is supported by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Oceana, Sierra Club, Environment America, Environment Washington, Environment Oregon, Environment California, Surfrider Foundation, League of Conservation Voters, Surf Industry Members Association, WILDCOAST, Business Alliance for Protecting the Pacific Coast, Paddle For Peace, and the National Aududon Society.

“Surfrider Foundation applauds the introduction of the West Coast Protection Act. We urge Congress to pass this and other legislation to protect U.S. waters from new offshore drilling. Stopping new offshore drilling will protect our nation’s environment, communities and businesses. The bill is also a key action to address climate change,” said Pete Stauffer, ocean protection manager, Surfrider Foundation.

“We can’t continue business as usual. With a climate and biodiversity crisis to address, and a clean energy economy taking off, this is no time to pursue a backward-looking energy strategy. The public has made it clear – communities oppose new offshore drilling and seismic blasting and don’t want to hand over our coastal waters to polluters. This bill would make significant strides in protecting the West Coast, coastal communities, and fragile ecosystems,” said Valerie Cleland, senior ocean advocate, NRDC.

“From soaring cliffs to sunny beaches, the Pacific coast is truly a national treasure. Sadly, this treasure has been threatened far too often, for far too long, with spills and pollution from offshore drilling. We’re glad to see the West Coast Ocean Protection Act reintroduced. We need to make ocean drilling a thing of the past,” said Kelsey Lamp, Protect our Oceans campaign director, Environment America.

“Dirty and dangerous offshore drilling worsens climate change, threatens marine life, and results in environmentally and economically devastating oil spills. Oceana applauds Senator Feinstein and Congressman Huffman for reintroducing the West Coast Ocean Protection Act which makes important progress toward permanently protecting all our coasts from new offshore drilling. Ending new offshore drilling is a crucial step toward addressing the climate crisis. Our oceans can be part of the solution as we expedite our transition away from dirty and dangerous fossil fuels and toward clean, renewable energy like responsibly-sited offshore wind,” said Diane Hoskins, Climate and Energy campaign director, Oceana.

“Communities on the West Coast have been fighting for a long time to be free of the fossil fuel industry’s grip. LCV thanks Congressman Huffman and Senator Feinstein for reintroducing the West Coast Ocean Protection Act, which would prohibit new oil and gas leasing off the West Coast and prevent a massive 19 billion tons of greenhouse gases from fueling the climate crisis. Offshore drilling continues to pollute coastal waters, with devastating consequences for the economy and public health of coastal communities already bearing the brunt of Big Oil’s greed. This bill is a step towards a just, clean, renewable energy future,” said America Fitzpatrick, conservation program director, League of Conservation Voters.

“We thank Senator Feinstein and Congressman Huffman for championing this effort to protect our coasts from the environmental disruption of offshore oil and gas extraction. Offshore drilling puts wildlife in danger, threatens the health of coastal communities, and prolongs our reliance on climate-damaging fossil fuels. Congress needs to listen to the local communities and millions of Americans who have spoken out against offshore drilling and pass the West Coast Protection Act,” said Athan Manuel, director of Sierra Club’s Lands Protection Program.

“Put simply, there is no room for more offshore drilling in a clean energy future. Rather we need to prioritize transformative and responsible actions that will move us away from fossil fuel production to renewable energy. Ocean Conservancy is excited to see the re-introduction of this critical legislation that would permanently ban risky offshore drilling on the West Coast, protecting our ocean health, and fostering the transition to cleaner energy sources. We look forward to working with Congress to advance this legislation,” said Jeff Watters, Vice President of External Affairs at Ocean Conservancy.

In the House, the legislation is cosponsored by Representatives Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Ed Case (HI-01), Judy Chu (CA-28), Suzan K. DelBene (WA-01), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-10), Anna Eshoo (CA-16), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03), Val Hoyle (OR-04), Sara Jacobs (CA-51), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), William Keating (MA-09), Derek Kilmer (WA-06), Rick Larsen (WA-02), Barbara Lee (CA-12), Mike Levin (CA-49), Ted. W. Lieu (CA-36), Doris Matsui (CA-07), Jimmy Panetta (CA-19), Scott Peters (CA-50), Katie Porter (CA-47), Deborah Ross (NC-02), Adam Schiff (CA-30), Eric Swalwell (CA-15), Mark Takano (CA-39), Mike Thompson (CA-04), Jill Tokuda (HI-02) and Juan Vargas (CA-52.).

In the Senate, the legislation is cosponsored by Senators Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

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