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.
No contrary words were heard at a public meeting that filled Bodega Bay’s Grange Hall with about 70 citizens, federal officials and fishing industry representatives Thursday night concerning a plan to protect an additional 2,770 square miles of the ocean off the rugged North Coast.
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.
California Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein on Wednesday hailed a Senate committee’s approval of their bill to expand two North Coast marine sanctuaries that would permanently prohibit offshore oil drilling.
Rep. Lynn Woolsey renewed her push on Wednesday to expand two marine sanctuaries and permanently ban offshore oil drilling along the North Coast. Woolsey reintroduced her bill, which was thwarted late last year, on the first day of the 112th Congress. Does it have a chance with Republicans firmly in control of the House?
Congress has lots of last-minute bills to sort through this month, ranging from the Bush tax cuts and unemployment benefits to “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Environmentalists on the North Coast hope lawmakers approve legislation by Rep. Lynn Woolsey that would double the size of two marine sanctuaries, providing permanent protection from offshore oil drilling along the Sonoma County and southern Mendocino County coasts.