If President Donald Trump has his way, the Golden State is about to turn a dark, oozy brown. That’s the color of leaking crude oil as it spoils our beaches, suffocates our wildlife and sucks the life out of our economy.
That’s why I’ve joined with a team of members from the state Legislature to draw a line in the sand and stop Trump’s dangerous plan to open the entire West Coast to oil drilling. Worse than we ever imagined, it’s a complete giveaway to his buddies in Big Oil. In addition to making the California coast ground zero for new oil drilling, the plan guts environmental protections that have been hard-fought and won over decades.
Mark my words: We will not back down. We will fight back in the Legislature, in the courts and ultimately at the ballot box.
As a start, we’ve introduced legislation in the state Senate that will prohibit any refining, loading or transporting of crude from any of Trump’s proposed new oil rigs off of our coast.
Next, and most importantly, we need you to join this fight. One of the first opportunities is coming up this week in Sacramento. It is the only public forum in California that the president has planned. That, in and of itself, is appalling, especially since the president’s mind is already made up — he wants to drill. Nevertheless, it’s important to send an overwhelming message to create a good public record at this sham of a hearing.
The hearing will take place on Thursday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria, 828 I St. in Sacramento. It’s being conducted by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, an agency within the U.S.s Department of the Interior. If you can’t make it, visit www.boem.gov/National-Program-Participate for instructions on how to attend a virtual meeting and make comments.
We all know that oil spills have lasting and devastating impacts on our environment, but a large spill off of the California coast would also have a massive impact on our economy.
Coastal communities contribute $40 billion a year to our overall state economy and provide half a million important jobs. Commercial fisheries in the state are valued at more than $7 billion annually. Ocean-dependent tourism is valued at more than $10 billion annually and growing. Recreational fishing is valued at more than $2 billion each year. Trump is putting this all at risk and trying to shove dozens of oil rigs down our throat.
To make matters worse, Big Oil has no idea how to clean up oil spills. A recent article published at Smithsonian.com stated that only an estimated 25 percent of the oil was recovered after the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010. A measly 14 percent of the oil from the Exxon Valdez spill back in 1989 was recovered from that catastrophic disaster. The rest of it stays with us, killing our wildlife, our economy, our health and our quality of life.
And yet, our president pushes forward with his alarming drilling plan even though poll after poll shows an overwhelming number of Californians, Republicans and Democrats alike, have opposed new rigs off of our coast for decades.
Trump, like a bull in a china shop — or perhaps more like Godzilla raging through downtown — is determined to wreck our coast, our economy and the environmental safeguards generations of Californians have fought so hard for.
It’s time to take action and make your voice heard this week by putting your comments on the record. California will win this fight, but we have to work together and draw a line in the sand to stop this reckless plan.
State Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, represents 2nd Senate District, which includes roughly one-third of the California coastline, from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border.