Congressional committee debates southern California oil drilling ban – The Log

The Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee hosted a virtual legislative hearing for a bill banning new leases for offshore drilling off the coast of California.

WASHINGTON DC 一 On May 13, the Congressional Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee heard testimony on Congressional Bill HR3053, the American Coasts and Oceans Protections Act.

The bill was introduced by 49th District Congressman Mike Levin on May 7 and would ban any new leases for exploration, development or production of oil or natural gas along the southern California coast. .

The hearing was titled Protecting Coastal Communities and Ocean Resources from Offshore Drilling, and heard about six bills across the United States, all opposed to banning new offshore drilling along the coast. from the country.

Throughout the hearing, witnesses and Committee members heard and gave testimony in favor of ending new offshore drilling or arguing against it on the basis of the need for energy.

Levin’s bill would apply directly to the southern California coast, from San Diego to the northern border of San Luis Obispo County.

“Southern California’s coast is home to world-famous beaches, cherished marine life, and billions of dollars in ocean-based economic activity that is central to our quality of life but is threatened by offshore drilling.” Levin said in a May 7 press. Release. “Oil spills from offshore drilling have already caused devastating damage to our coastline, which is why Californians are overwhelmingly supporting a ban on new drilling activity along our coast. My bill to ban new offshore drilling leases recognizes the time to put our environment and coastal economy first, not the fossil fuel companies that profit while polluting our coastline.

Levin called San Diego County District 3 Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer as a witness for the bill. Remer spoke about the California economy’s dependence on tourism and fishing that can be damaged by oil spills or other incidents that may have resulted from offshore oil drilling.

Remer reminded the Committee of the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill that devastated California and ended drilling in state waters.

“We know there is no way that an oil and gas economy that is grappling with global economic obsolescence very quickly can in any way outweigh the heart and soul of California’s coastal economy.” , said Remer. “… also our investments in green and renewable energies which are so vital to our economic future. “

Remer continued during questioning to defend the use of renewable energy.

“There is no doubt that the growth of renewables more than compensates,” said Remer. “As I mentioned in my testimony, the cost of solar power has fallen 89% in the last few years alone and we are on track to make the cost of renewables significantly lower than gas. and that’s because we’re investing in these sectors and we’re not just reducing the cost of renewables, we’re creating jobs in a new green economy that puts California at the forefront of preparing to be competitive in a global economy.

Opponents of the bill cited the need for profitable energy sources for American families in times of need and economic depression.

“Today’s hearing is particularly deaf to the needs of American families at a time when there are lines of cars at gas stations stretching out over blocks, reminiscent of the Carter administration,” he said. said Congressman Pete Stauber of Minnesota. “… We should discuss how we should harness national resources to provide safe and affordable energy to American families.” “

Officials said California is already dependent on imported energy and ending offshore drilling would increase the problem. Arizona Representative Paul Gosar said California imported nearly 30 million barrels of oil from Colombia last year.

Representative Garret Graves of Louisiana led opposition to the bill, pointing to the flaw in renewable energy technology that has not been tested and the danger of using tankers that could also have an environmental impact.

“All of this talk about this great technology and how affordable it is and, that’s what we need to do and it’s not even in place in California,” Graves said. , that is, energy from other countries or other states if we are not going to produce, then what it does is that it has to be brought by tanker … Tankers are a less secure transport mechanism than let me quote Energy Secretary Granholm who just said a few days ago that pipes are the safest way to transport energy and so she speaks efficiently use less secure means of transportation that would potentially have environmental consequences for the State of California.

The committee has not made a decision since the May 12 hearing, for more information or to watch the full hearing tour,

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