Wednesday, 29 May 2024

REGIONAL: Thompson introduces bill to permanently ban drilling on North Coast

WASHINGTON – On the first day in the 111th Congress, North Coast Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA) introduced a bill that would permanently prohibit oil and gas drilling off the coasts of Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte Counties.


The Northern California Ocean and Coastal Protection Act provides protection to the unique and productive marine environment along Northern California’s outer continental shelf (OCS).


“For the economic and biological health of our country, it’s critical that we permanently protect this unique area from the environmental hazards of off-shore drilling,” said Congressman Thompson. “Unfortunately in the last Congress drilling became a political drama, rather than a policy debate. My legislation is one aspect of a broader campaign to restore sensible, science based policy and ensure the health of our oceans for generations.”


During the last Congress, the ban on OCS drilling expired, which leaves the North Coast susceptible to drilling in as little as three years.


The moratorium on OCS drilling had been a bipartisan agreement in Congress since 1982, but came under regular attack, and was not renewed in 2008.


In order to make sure that the North Coast of California is permanently protected, Congressman Thompson introduced his legislation today.


“Our coastline is home to one of the four most important upwellings in the world, which together support 20 percent of the ocean’s fish,” Thompson said. “Drilling on the North Coast doesn’t make sense, either from an economic standpoint or an environmental perspective. By permanently banning drilling, we can provide our coast with the protection it needs, regardless of who is in charge in Washington.”


Upwelling regions are coastal areas that support extremely abundant and productive marine life. This is because an upwelling brings cold, nutrient-rich waters up from the ocean depths that, when combined with sunlight, enhance seaweed and phytoplankton growth.


The seaweed and phytoplankton provide energy for some of the most productive ecosystems in the world, including many of the world’s most important fisheries, such as the North Coast fisheries.


Drilling for gas and oil off the Northern Coast of California could cause serious harm to the unique and productive ecosystem and abundant marine life found off the coast, including the fish many local North Coast economies depend on.


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