I’m sure most of us agree that the disastrous oil spill off our Southern California coast earlier this month was completely unacceptable, and that we must work to prevent another incident.
As conditions begin to normalize and this tragic event slowly fades into our rear-view mirror, the temptation to simply move on becomes easier. But instead, my colleagues and I on the Encinitas City Council just took a serious step to help ensure that this never happens again.
Last week, I introduced an Offshore Oil Drilling resolution affirming the city’s support for a ban on new federal offshore oil drilling leases in Southern California.
I’m pleased to tell you that the resolution was unanimously approved by my colleagues at our City Council meeting!
The bill ending the leases, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA), is pending before Congress. In May 2021, Rep. Levin introduced the American Coasts and Oceans Protection Act, which would halt all new federal leases for offshore oil and gas drilling from San Diego County to the northern border of San Luis Obispo County.
The spill is an ecological catastrophe and a dire warning of the potential consequences if we allow offshore drilling to expand in our backyard.
Rep. Levin’s bill is a critical step in the right direction, and Encinitas is now on the record, telling the federal government that we’re throwing our support behind the bill’s passage.
As Encinitas Mayor, I’ve been a steadfast advocate for environmental justice as well as transitioning our economy away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy sources. I plan to continue these climate-healing goals as your State Senator.
Oil Spill Update
Here’s the latest spill info, according to official sources:
Revised estimates put the total amount of oil leaked at just under 25,000 gallons. The broken pipeline is still shut down and oil is not being released from the crack. The Coast Guard suspects that an anchor strike moved part of the pipeline 105 feet and stripped away its concrete casing, making it more vulnerable.
Our beaches remain open and there is no reported public health risk. All booms from the response have been removed, but cleanup can be reinstated if necessary. On-water oil-recovery operations have stopped, but shoreline cleanup in Orange County and San Diego County continues.
Following an increase in tar ball sightings during post-storm assessments in San Diego County, crews surged there to maximize cleanup efforts. Tar ball collection on Orange County beaches has decreased, and recovered tar balls are increasingly smaller in size and more dispersed.
As of October 26, 111 oiled birds have been recovered – 33 of these birds were alive, and the remaining 78 died. Five marine mammals were recovered dead and are undergoing necropsy to determine the cause of death. One Northern Right Whale Dolphin was recovered alive. All the live birds were visibly oiled, but not all of the dead birds or mammals were. The Oiled Wildlife Care Network released ten animals after proper cleaning and rehabilitation.
I know this is mostly disturbing news, but there is hope to prevent further accidents such as the one we just experienced. You can help by supporting Rep. Levin’s American Coasts and Oceans Protection Act.
I hope you and your family are reveling in our crisp fall weather, and that you enjoy a memorable Halloween weekend!