July 26, 2012
Recently, the House adopted Congresswoman Richardson’s Amendment (The Richardson Amendment) to H.R. 6082, the “Congressional Replacement of President Obama's Energy-Restricting and Job-Limiting Offshore Drilling Plan. The Richardson Amendment asks the Secretary of the Interior to consult the California Governor and State Legislature before leasing areas off the coast of California. It also extends to California the same consideration that the bill’s drafters accorded the state of South Carolina.
“Residents of California should have the right to participate in the leasing process that affects waters off their coast,” said Richardson.
“The State of California has within its borders more than two-thirds of the nation’s Pacific coastline, a far greater percentage than South Carolina has with respect to the Atlantic coastline. California’s coastline is an international treasure and our state’s residents should have input on drilling off our shores. Offshore drilling could put the California coastline at risk, endanger tourism, damage fisheries, and devastate coastal recreation.
“Previous oil spills have stained our beaches and killed marine life, California has seen firsthand the destructive power of an offshore oil spill.”
On January 28, 1969, a blowout on a Unocal rig six miles off the coast of California spilled more than four million gallons of oil into the waters off Santa Barbara. The blackened beaches and oil-soaked birds and seals eventually brought oil exploration off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States to a halt. A congressional moratorium on offshore drilling expired October 1, 2008 and the California Legislature requested that the United States Congress extend the 27-year-old moratorium on offshore oil drilling through fiscal year 2009 and beyond. That request fell on deaf ears. Congress in 2008 reopened waterways for offshore drilling.
“In 1969, California learned valuable lessons on environmental protection and now is a leader in protecting our national coastlines,” Richardson said.
“California understands the economic and health impact of irresponsible offshore oil drilling. Creating federal legislation that allows offshore drilling that bypasses California’s immense experience and expertise on this subject without as much as consultation is simply reckless.”