Since his first day in office, Rep. Salud Carbajal has worked to pass a bill — the California Clean Coast Act — which would ban offshore oil and gas leasing off California’s coast. Two years later, he is celebrating the House passage of his bill and a larger one, the Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act (HR 1941), which expands the ban to all U.S Coastlines.
“From the oil spill of ’69 to the 2015 Plains All American spills, we know too well the devastating effects of offshore drilling,” Carbajal said at his Shoreline Park press conference Friday. “The future depends on us to take bold environmental action.”
HR 1941, a bipartisan bill, passed on the House floor Wednesday with a 238-189 vote. The bill must next survive the Senate before being signed into law by the president. There are concerns about the likelihood of the bill passing through the Senate, though, and a community member asked Carbajal at the conference, “How do we proceed when the Senate will not take anything out of the House?”
“Keep making your voices heard,” Carbajal advised her. For now, he said, we can celebrate the progress we have made getting the bill through the House.
County Supervisors Das Williams and Gregg Hart as well as City Councilmember Eric Friedman came to show their support for the total oil ban, but it was all nonelected supporters whom Carbajal invited to speak in the park. A handful of environmental activists hailing from companies like Patagonia and Allen Construction to local nonprofit and volunteer groups like the Santa Barbara Channelkeeper and Get Oil Out spoke in support of Carbajal and the HR 1941’s passing.
“In April 2017, Trump announced he would open the entire Pacific Coast to offshore oil drilling,” said Linda Krop, Chief Counsel of the Environmental Defense Center. “He essentially took a Sharpie to the entire coast of California. Never in our history has the coast been at such risk; we need to pursue clean energy now more than ever.”