Congresswoman Susan Davis supported legislation to put restrictions on drilling off California's coast as part of a far-reaching energy bill passed by the House of Representatives.
Under the bill, before any drilling could happen off California's coast, the California government would have to approve it. It would also restrict drilling to fifty miles from the coast.
"More drilling is simply not going to significantly lower prices or solve our energy needs," said Davis. "We need to look forward and use new technologies and renewable energy to create a national energy policy that reflects the 21st Century. We also need to look at conservation efforts, such as increasing fuel economy standards for cars and trucks."
According to a 2007 review of the world's energy, the United States consumes 25 percent of the world's oil. However, the U.S. only possesses three percent of proven oil reserves.
There is an estimated 18 billion barrels of oil off the coast of the U.S. At the rate of current U.S. consumption of 20 million barrels of oil a day, the U.S. would deplete all the offshore oil in less than three years.
"It's clear that we don't have the oil to meet our amount of usage," said Davis. "The environmental risks out weigh the limited benefits of additional oil."
In addition to the drilling provisions, the Comprehensive American Energy Security & Consumer Protection Act would roll back Big Oil tax breaks in a time of record oil company profits and require oil companies to pay royalties already owed to taxpayers; invest in wind, solar and natural gas, 21st century energy sources to create millions of jobs; and release oil from the government's stockpile to bring down gas prices.
Under current law, when the congressional ban on offshore drilling expires on September 30, 2008, states would have little recourse to restrict drilling their coast. Drilling could also occur within three miles of the coast. The intent of the bill is to limit where drilling can occur and give states a say in whether drilling occurs off their coast.
"I would prefer that Congress renew the ban on drilling offshore," added Davis. "Unfortunately, the political realities are such that is not likely to happen this year."