Federal officials say they are open to suggestions from the public that more of the North Coast should be protected from offshore oil drilling under a proposed expansion of two marine sanctuaries.
The four-decade battle to preserve Sonoma County’s scenic coast from offshore oil drilling came to an apparent end Thursday as federal officials announced plans to expand two marine sanctuaries, putting an area the size of Delaware off-limits to energy development.
With her time in Congress running short, Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, is pursuing a new approach to protecting more of the North Coast from oil drilling — one that doesn’t require a vote in the Republican-controlled House.
Sonoma County Taxpayers Association officials say they will withdraw their opposition ballot argument to a proposed change in Santa Rosa bylaws heading to voters this fall, saying they misunderstood the measure. The group on Aug. 20 filed a ballot argument against Measure T, which contains several tweaks to the city charter so non-controversial they were lumped together into a ‘clean-up’ ballot measure.
Santa Rosa voters will have two more questions to answer at the ballot box this fall. One, should the city change the guidelines for the arbitration process used to settle public safety contract disputes? Two, should the city allow city projects to be designed and built by the same company? The Santa Rosa City Council voted Tuesday to let voters decide these issues, both of which were recommended by the Charter Review Committee.
Environmentalists scrambled Wednesday to determine if President Obama’s reference to offshore oil drilling in his State of the Union speech posed a new prospect for oil rigs along the North Coast. Activists said the reference underscores the need to achieve permanent protection from oil and gas drilling for the rugged coast.