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Woolsey tries again to ban oil drilling off North Coast


Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, renewed her push on Wednesday to expand two marine sanctuaries and permanently ban offshore oil drilling along the North Coast.

Woolsey submitted her bill, which was thwarted late last year, on the first day of the 112th Congress with Republicans firmly in control of the House and determined to blunt Democratic initiatives.

Woolsey, who began her 10th term on Wednesday, called for bipartisan support of the sanctuary measure, saying it would “help the economy by preserving jobs in the fishing industry and creating new ones in the tourist industry.”

Lynn Woolsey

“If Republicans are serious about job creation, they should support this,” she said in a written statement.

But the head of the oil industry’s most powerful trade group sounded a different note on Tuesday, faulting the Obama administration’s decisions last year to preclude oil and gas leases off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

Banning energy exploration in those regions “sends job creation elsewhere … and it closes the door on economic growth,” said Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute.

His group released a 29-page report, titled “The State of American Energy,” reiterating the estimate that there are 10.5 billion barrels of untapped oil reserves on the Pacific coast and calling on Congress and the White House to “re-examine and reconsider limits” on drilling.

“They put us in the crosshairs,” said Richard Charter of Bodega Bay, a veteran of the 30-year battle over North Coast oil drilling. “They see a changing of the guard in the House that might open the door for them.”

But Charter, a lobbyist for the environmental group Defenders of Wildlife, also said Woolsey’s bill has a chance through a companion measure in the Senate, which is still under Democratic control.

“You don’t need to have a friendly House to do this,” Charter said.

With two powerful powerful backers in California Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, the sanctuary expansion could win Senate approval and be sent to the House late this year as part of an omnibus bill that many members would support, Charter said.

Oil drilling is expressly prohibited in marine sanctuaries, but commercial fishing is allowed.

The sanctuary measure was lumped into a public lands omnibus bill that was derailed last month by Arizona Republican Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl. “You have to keep trying because that’s how these things get done,” Charter said.

The 6,100-square mile Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, which touches the southern tip of Marin County, was established by former California Democratic Rep. Leon Panetta in 1992 after a 14-year effort, Charter said.

Woolsey’s bill, which originated in 2004, would more than double the size of two existing sanctuaries, which cover about 1,800 square miles of ocean from just north of the Golden Gate Bridge to Bodega Head. The proposed expansion would extend the sanctuaries’ northern limit to Point Arena in southern Mendocino County.

David McCuan, a Sonoma State University political scientist, said that Charter’s scenario for the sanctuary expansion is viable.

Woolsey’s bill may not “see the light of day” in the House, McCuan said, but Boxer and Feinstein could get it through the Senate and into an omnibus bill that might surface this year or in 2012.

“It has value as an election year issue,” he said.

For Woolsey, who said last month she might retire in 2012 after completing 20 years in Congress, the bill is “good politics on her part,” McCuan said.

Should the sanctuaries be expanded, the law “would be an important part of her legacy,” he said.

Woolsey, a former Petaluma city councilwoman, is best known for her principled stand against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. She has handily defeated all challengers for her seat in the 6th Congressional District, which covers all of Marin and most of Sonoma County.

16 Responses to “Woolsey tries again to ban oil drilling off North Coast”

  1. Steve Humphrey says:

    Woolsey and those who share her ideals have destroyed the fishing industry along our coast. Her claims of marine preserves saving the fishing industry are an absolute lie. They are the exact opposite. Does anyone really think this isn’t just a mark on her legacy, a sign on a beachhead, or perhaps the “lynn woolsey marine sanctuary” to enshrine her forever? She’s got hers (read ours) and to hell with everyone else. I can’t believe people actually voted for her…she can’t retire fast enough.

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  2. Dave Madigan says:

    Lynn Woolsey is now the top story on the Drudge Report. Her comments on the Afghanistan War are newsworthy. You can guess her point of view!

    Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  3. Guard Dog says:

    Lynn Woolsey, GREAT ECONOMY KILLER OF ALL TIME! good work Lynn.

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  4. Yes, How silly of me.. says:

    Great point NOTUTOO….
    Yet another contradiction from Woolsey. She needs to review the basic law of non-contradictions. Two things cannot oppose one another and both be true at the same time! In this case three things….
    1. preserve fishing?
    2. fishing is prohibited in the sanctuaris
    3. Create New Jobs…..

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  5. NOTUTOO says:

    @Preservation vs Conservation…You forgot to mention that it’s practically illegal to take a fish…

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  6. Green Jobs? Create Jobs, What the? says:

    How much more green can sport and commercial fishing be in regards to “creating new jobs” These two activities contributed more to the economy than we know! As the previous author said, there is a tremendous contribution towards the economy based on the truthfull management of Our sustainable groundfish industry. The closures were based on FALSE information and the decision to place these areas into so called protected status as sanctuaries was done behind closed doors and without input on behalf of the public. To all of you Politicians, Private Stakeholders, California Dept of Fiah and Game, NOAA, and the PFMC….The truth is going to be told and your agendas, deceit and lies are now being exposed to the public. We are going to demand that our rights to fish, earn a living and american freedoms are restored! Your time has come… We will not stop here!

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  7. No more Woolsey con't.... says:

    I guess you could only fish on sunny days..What do you do when it’s foggy? Do you go lunar at night?

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  8. No more Woolsey says:

    Where is the diesel fuel for all of those fishing boats going to come from? Maybe they will convert them all to solar?

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  9. Ron says:

    Another rep with her head in the sand! Why can’t you see what the people really need in this economy, “JOBS” and to be energy free of foreign oil.

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  10. Just retire already!

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  11. Preservation vs Conservation says:

    “help the economy by PRESERVING he fishing industry and creating new ones in the tourist industry???” Miss Woolsey, you are a walking ,talking contradiction with your own language! The very definition of “preservation” is the NONE use of a resource. By contrast, CONSERVATION is the wise use of a resource! Can you please explain how preserving the fishing industry is going to help the economy? Needless to say, the tourist economy. The sanctuary status has actually destroyed the economy! Restuarants,B&B’s, motels, bait and tackle shops, fish processing and retailers, Public and private campgrounds,Charter boats, commercial fisherman,stores and markets have ALL been seriously affected ( many completelty put out of business) because of these sanctuary status areas. Whats worse, is that the VOTING,WORKING HARD PEOPLE of California did not have a say or vote in this hostile takeover of OUR FISHING RESOURCE! As for Boxer and Fienstien, You provide more protection to the fish in the sea than you do to a child in a mothers womb! Need I say more? Its time to take AMERICA back!

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  12. Western Cluebird says:

    Woolsey seems relieved to be able to pass the buck again. She wrote “If Republicans are serious about job creation, they should support this.”

    Where are all the green and solar jobs that Woolsey claimed would be our lifeline out of high unemployment numbers back in April 2010?
    She cheerfully said “We have turned the corner on unemployment, and things are looking up”.(This was at her April fools JOBS fair in Petaluma over 10 months ago- where there were almost no jobs avaliable to participants.)

    …”Oil drilling is expressly prohibited in marine sanctuaries, but commercial fishing is allowed.”
    Does this mean that individual sport fishing will be banned? What about boating, sailboarding, whale watching or diving?

    Where are the stimulous money jobs and all the other expensive “job creating” government great ideas? How, exactly would this bill create jobs?

    Woolsey is playing politics to make a name for herself, and doesn’t even pretend to care what her constituents need or want.
    Beware of anything she tries to do- the chances are it is self agrandizing, expensive, and will not be good for us citizens.

    I can see the signs now- “LYNN WOOLSEY MARINE SANCTUARY-DO NOT ENTER!” all along our coast.

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  13. cyclist says:

    Here’s an idea. Walk or bike, At the same time spare the air!
    Less dependent on foreign oil. You do what you like but don’t complain when the price of gas goes up to 4 or 5 dollar per gallon.

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    “Preseving jobs in the fishing industry” This is the biggest lie ever told. Ever since Cordell Banks and the gulf of the Farollones was put into “sanctuary status” commercial and recreational fishing has been BANNED! what a devastating blow to the communities that depended on this sustainable resource for their living. Miss Woolsey, if you want to create jobs and support tourism, use your appointed authority to overturn the fraudulent environmental scam that was used to close this God given natural resource industry. How dare you perpetuate a lie to the american public. In 1999, I like many other sport and small commercial fisherman made significant investments with the puchase of a fishing boat, licenses, gear etc only to be forced out of the RIGHT to fish off the Sonoma County Coastline. To all of you so called environmentalists, stakeholders, Blue ribbon task force and Miss Woolsey, You have some nerve!

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  15. principled says:

    I’m a lifelong SC resident who has worked out in Bodega for several years. The US needs to be energy dependent. That means drill. The idea not to drill off our coast – miles off the coast, mind you – is just more insane 17 year-old idealistic delusion. Drill, baby, drill.

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  16. Graeme Wellington says:

    The most ineffectual and feckless person in Congress should just start voting “present” and retire as soon as possible. Can’t we get someone who can actually represent us?

    What kind of accomplishment is a “principled stand against the war” when just about everyone is against the war. Is my stand against the war less principled?

    Just retire and let Brown appoint someone with some talent. Please!

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