On Jan 11, Congressman Mike Thompson (D-North Coast) reintroduced legislation 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 protects the marine environment along the Northern Coast of California’s outer continental shelf (OCS) from off shore drilling. Congressman Thompson also introduced this legislation in the 111th Congress.
“It is critical that we permanently protect our coast and its vital marine life from the environmental hazards of off-shore drilling,” said Congressman Thompson. “In past Congresses, this important issue has become a political dispute rather than a debate on legitimate policy. This legislation will steer the debate back to sensible, science based policy, and ensure the wellbeing of our oceans for future generations.”
During the 110th Congress the ban on OCS drilling expired, which leaves the North Coast susceptible to drilling. 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.
“One of the four most crucial upwellings in the world's oceans is located off of California’s North Coast and sustains 20 percent of the ocean’s fish,” said Congressman Thompson. “Regardless of who is in charge in Washington in the future, we need to ensure now that our coast is permanently protected from needless and harmful offshore drilling.”