In a replay of earlier battles, state Sen. Noreen Evans is going after Big Oil in California in an attempt to raise money for higher education and state parks.
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.
Expanding offshore oil drilling increases the risk of a devastating accident while doing nothing to lower the price of gas at the pump, says Richard Charter, a senior policy adviser with Defenders of Wildlife. He wants the public to link hands on Saturday at Bodega Bay to signal support for policies that encourage the growth of clean and renewable energy sources in place of oil and coal.
The House is scheduled to vote Wednesday on a Republican bill that seeks to double offshore oil production by 2027. Even if it clears the House, it is expected to stall in Senate, where Democrats are intent on ending tax breaks for profitable oil companies. One critic says the Republican goal is to inject oil drilling into next year’s election campaign. Should oil wells be allowed on the North Coast?
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.
A 26-year ban on oil drilling along the North Coast lapsed in 2008 during a presidential campaign that included a Republican call to “drill now,” augmented by public frustration over $4 a gallon gasoline.