Saturday, 15 June 2024

Bill will permanently protect North Coast from offshore drilling

WASHINGTON Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA) has introduced a bill that will permanently prohibit oil and gas drilling off the coasts of Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte Counties.


The Northern California Ocean and Coastal Protection Act (H.R. 2758) provides protection to the unique and productive marine environment along Northern California's outer continental shelf.


"Northern California's coast brings biological and economic benefits to the entire country," said Thompson. "It's critical that we permanently protect this unique area from the environmental hazards of off-shore drilling."


The West Coast is one of four major upwelling regions in the world. Upwelling regions are coastal areas that support extremely abundant and productive marine life. This is because an upwelling brings cold, nutrient-rich waters up from the ocean depths that, when combined with sunlight, enhance seaweed and phytoplankton growth. The seaweed and phytoplankton provide energy for some of the most productive ecosystems in the world, including many of the world's most important fisheries, such as the North Coast fisheries.


According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, while upwelling regions make up only one percent of the world's oceans, they contribute to approximately half of the world's fish catch.


Drilling for gas and oil off the Northern Coast of California could cause serious harm to the unique and productive ecosystem and abundant marine life found off the coast, including the fish many local North Coast economies depend on.


"I've been working with Congressman Thompson to protect Northern California's coast from oil and gas development since he was elected to the State Senate in 1990," said Rachel Binah, former chair, Environmental Caucus, California Democratic Party Democratic National Committeewoman. "I'm proud that he continues to show his leadership by providing permanent protection to some of the world's most beautiful coastline."


"For years, I've been working with local environmentalists, businesses, fishing communities and public officials to provide our coast with the protection it needs," added Thompson. "Like me, they believe that permanent federal protection is the only way to ensure the North Coast's marine life is just as bountiful decades from now as it is today."


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