Commission votes to support oceans reports and oppose threat to offshore oil & gas moratorium

EL SEGUNDO —The California State Lands Commission (CSLC) today adopted two resolutions to protect the Pacific Ocean from pollution and thwart efforts by oil companies to sidestep the moratorium on offshore oil and gas development.

“Clean and healthy oceans are a vital concern for every Californian,” said State Controller and Chair of the State Lands Commission Steve Westly. “We must keep the moratorium on oil and gas leasing in place to preserve California’s coastline and prevent the potential devastation of future oil spills.”

“We must continue to be strong stewards of one of California’s most valuable and treasured resources-our coastline,” said Lieutenant Governor Cruz M. Bustamante. “These resolutions once again confirm our commitment to ensuring an ecologically and environmentally pristine ocean by validating important oceanic research and registering our adamant opposition to any new offshore oil drilling.”

The first resolution supports the reports of both the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and the independent Pew Oceans Commission regarding reforms to our nation’s ocean policy. The second resolution calls for the continuation of the moratorium on new offshore oil and gas development along California’s 1,100-mile coastline.

On April 20, the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy released its Preliminary Report, which included  recommendations for developing a comprehensive national ocean policy. Last year, the Pew Oceans Commission issued its three-year, nationwide study of the oceans. Both reports conclude that our oceans are in crisis as a result of pollution, overfishing and habitat loss.

The CSLC’s resolution supports the reports’ recommendation that the federal government adopt an ecosystem-based approach to oceans management. The CSLC believes that addressing the complex interrelationships among the ocean, land, air, and all living creatures is essential to maintaining healthy, living oceans.

The National Petroleum Council, an oil industry group, last September issued a report that advocated lifting the federal Pacific Coast moratorium on new California offshore oil and gas leasing. It also recommended preparing a comprehensive inventory of oil and gas resources in the Outer Continental Shelf. On May 5, the Department of Energy announced that it had formed a federal Interagency Working Group to review and implement recommendations from the NPC report.

Today’s CSLC resolution urges the President, the Department of Energy and the U.S. Congress to focus on renewable energy development and continue the moratorium on oil and gas leasing. The Lands Commission has previously gone on record with its opposition to a federal inventory of offshore oil and gas resources, out of concern that it could lead to lifting the moratorium.

In addition to these actions, the Commission approved the purchase of 43 acres in the Bolsa Chica wetland area, known as the Fieldstone Property, from Hearthside Residential Corporation. This property will be included in the Bolsa Chica Lowlands Restoration Project, the largest wetland restoration on the West Coast.

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Lorena Gonzalez | 916.445.8994
Office of the Lieutenant

Paul Hefner | 916.324.2356
Governor Office of the State Controller