Another sight that startled me while driving along the California coast last week, just a few hours after passing the charred remains of the recent Woolsey Fire in Malibu, was a steady march of offshore oil rigs on the western horizon. There were dozens of them over the miles, hazy in the distance but still very much present; they studded the ocean view on every beach we passed. I didn’t realize this blue state had allowed its blue waters to be tapped by the fossil fuel industry in this way and to this extent.
The above photo is mine; here’s another to show what the drilling rigs look like in detail.
Now that we’re unwinding from our road trip back home, I looked up more about California’s offshore drilling and found this op-ed published just a few days ago: “Trump’s half-baked offshore drilling plan is not safe” by Mary Creasman for The Hill, published November 23. Below are a few excerpts.
President Trump’s plan to open California’s iconic coast to unsafe oil and gas drilling is unfolding minute-by-minute. First, he and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke proposed opening the largest swath of our country’s offshore drilling reserves ever offered to oil companies. Then, they proposed rolling back critical safety measures in place to prevent oil spill disasters.
These announcements were not just half-baked remarks to put a smile on the face of Big Oil. The Trump administration is hellbent on expanding drilling throughout our waters, a shameless money grab that flies in the face of what Californians care about.
Our state remembers well the tragic oil spills that caused irreversible damage to our oceans. From San Francisco to Santa Barbara, these preventable disasters destroyed habitats, killed wildlife, and devastated coastal communities that rely on beaches for their livelihoods.
At a time when the deadliest wildfire in California history continues to burn, we need bold action to fight climate change and transition our economy away from dirty fossil fuels. California has done our part, passing 100 percent renewable energy requirements by 2045 to move toward a clean energy future. We need to invest in technologies to mitigate climate disasters, not recklessly expand offshore oil drilling.