Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) testified at University of California, San Francisco's Mission Bay Conference on Energy Development on the Outer Continental Shelf. The daylong conference was hosted by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, who is exploring new approaches to developing energy resources on the Outer Continental Shelf.
During the conference, Congresswoman Lee urged Secretary Salazar to institute policies that would not only protect California's pristine coastline from offshore oil and gas drilling but also encourage the development of environmentally-friendly energy resources.
The following are excerpts of the statement as delivered by Congresswoman Lee:
"For more than 25 years, the Congress and the President maintained a bipartisan agreement to ban any new drilling off our shores because we believed it was more important to safeguard the health and beauty of our coastal environment for future generations to enjoy. The moratorium on drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf, which unfortunately was allowed to lapse in 2008, long stood as a shining example of our commitment to balancing America's energy needs with the protection of our nation's most pristine and environmentally sensitive areas.
"I continue to believe that the best and most responsible path in the development of energy resources is a forward is one in which our coastlines remain free of offshore oil and gas drilling, and our demand for fossil fuels is diminished through the use of renewable energy sources and the deployment of energy efficient technologies.
"Mr. Secretary, you have repeatedly cited President Obama's pledge "to develop a new strategy for energy development" - a forward-looking strategy grounded on innovation, and one that will create clean-energy economy that is essential to revitalizing our communities and restoring the economy. And I stand here today, ready to support President Obama and you, Mr. Secretary, in achieving those goals. But I do not believe that off-shore drilling should be an option."