A throng of protesters, including state lawmakers and North Coast activists, is expected to rally in Sacramento preceding the Trump administration’s only California public meeting on a controversial offshore oil drilling plan covering most of the nation’s coastal waters.
State Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, said he expects more than 1,000 people to attend the anti-drilling rally at 1:30 p.m. Thursday on the north steps of the Capitol Building. The demonstration is sponsored by a coalition called Protect the Pacific.
Senate Democrats Scott Wiener of San Francisco, Henry Stern of Canoga Park and Assembly Democrats Jim Wood of Healdsburg and Monique Limon of Santa Barbara and Republican Brian Maienschein of San Diego plan to attend.
Following the rally, participants will march three blocks to the location of a Bureau of Ocean Management public meeting on the offshore oil drilling plan released last month by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. It ignited complaints from federal, state and local officials on both coasts and across the nation.
The meeting runs from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria, 828 I St.
Zinke’s plan calls for 47 potential sales of oil drilling rights from 2019 to 2024, with six along the California coast, where energy development has faced bipartisan opposition since the Santa Barbara oil spill in 1969.
Activists are outraged that the only public meeting in California is taking place in Sacramento, 100 miles from the ocean and much farther for residents north of Sonoma County.
“Those most affected by industrialization of the oceans will have the most difficult time participating in this disastrous, discriminatory process,” said Rachael Binah of Little River in Mendocino County, whose campaign against offshore oil dates back to the early 1980s.
McGuire said the choice of a meeting site amounts to “trying to put a gag order on California” adding that President Donald Trump already “has his mind made up” on expanding offshore oil development to the fullest possible extent.
“We’re going to see fireworks in Sacramento,” said Richard Charter of Bodega Bay, a veteran anti-drilling advocate and senior fellow with The Ocean Foundation.
For details on the drilling plan, go to www.boem.gov/National-Program/.
Comments should be submitted by March 9.
Anti-drilling rallies are scheduled Saturday. at Los Angeles, San Diego, Laguna Beach, San Luis Obispo, Ventura and Santa Cruz.