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Congresswoman Barbara Lee joins Rep. John Garamendi and Broad Coalition of Members of Congress and Environmental Leaders to Discuss Legislative Efforts on Offshore Oil Drilling

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Location: Washington, DC

Garamendi's Bill Would Stop All New Offshore Drilling on the West Coast

Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek, CA) today joined a broad coalition of Congressional members and environmental leaders to highlight legislation that seeks to curtail new offshore oil drilling and to hold the oil industry accountable for cleanup and safety improvements.

One bill discussed was Congressman Garamendi's bill, the West Coast Ocean Protection Act of 2010 that would stop all new offshore oil drilling on platforms in federal waters on the West Coast. It presently has 25 cosponsors.

"The Gulf Coast oil spill is a clarion call to reevaluate our nation's priorities," Congressman John Garamendi said. "Do we want to continue drilling and spilling, or should we instead invest in the renewable energy sources that are our future? The West Coast Ocean Protection Act of 2010 stops all new offshore oil drilling in federal waters off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington. We know disaster can strike from any platform, and the risk simply isn't worth the reward."

"Offshore drilling poses too great a risk to our coastal communities, economies, and our ecosystems. This was made painfully clear by the recent British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico," said Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA). "The best and most responsible path 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. I am pleased to join with Congressman Garamendi in this effort to protect our coasts against unnecessary drilling."

"With 210,000 gallons of oil spilling into the Gulf Coast every day, it's time to stop pretending that we can safely drill offshore without threatening our coastlines, our marine ecosystems, and our coastal fishing and tourism economies," said Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey (D-CA).

"The bottom line is that these spills happen all the time and opening up new drilling for fossil fuel development is unnecessary," said Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ). "We simply cannot allow a tragedy like this to occur on the east coast, or anywhere in the U.S. for that matter. We cannot drill our way to energy independence, we must put a stop to any and all new offshore drilling in the United States."

"I commend Congressman Garamendi for introducing this bill, and believe we must go even further and end new offshore drilling until we have a better understanding of the Deepwater Horizon situation," said Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards (D-MD). "Until the industry demonstrates effective oil spill planning, containment and clean up technology, no coastal communities should face the threat of an environmental and economic catastrophe. When it does happen, oil companies must be held liable for all costs. We must end our dependence on fossil fuels, we must look towards renewable energy, and we must do it now."

"A legislative moratorium on offshore drilling along the West Coast would be one more step in the long Oregon tradition of protecting our ecologically unique, seismically sensitive coastline," said Rep. David Wu (D-OR). "We must continue to have the foresight to invest in innovative, sustainable solutions to our energy needs, while shielding our coastal economies and natural heritage from disasters like the one currently afflicting the Gulf Coast."

"I thank Congressman Garamendi for introducing this important bill," Rep. Sam Farr said. "Too many times we've seen the tragic results of offshore drilling, from the 1969 blow-out off the coast of Santa Barbara to the distressing images we're seeing this week from the Gulf. We must protect the fragile coastlands of the West coast, and this bill moves us in that direction."

"In addition to protecting the west coast from the damage and devastation currently occurring in the Gulf Coast, this measure reinforces the need to focus on renewable and sustainable energy policies. It is about time we exercise some common sense," said Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA).

"The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico illustrates the serious safety and environmental risks of offshore drilling, even with modern technology," said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). "I do not support new drilling off the California coast, and I hope that the West Coast Ocean Protection Act will restore the long-standing Congressional moratorium that has prevented another such disaster along our shores."

"We face a choice," Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) said. "Do we build more offshore oil rigs and risk more massive oil spills or do we build offshore wind turbines that present little environmental risk and will create good paying jobs in the clean energy industry?"

"Expanding offshore drilling is a fool's bargain. There is not enough oil off of our shores to make America energy independent or reduce gas prices. And new offshore drilling puts coastal ecosystems and billion dollar coastal economies at risk," said Jackie Savitz, Senior Campaign Director of Oceana.

"We commend Representatives Garamendi, Pallone, and Castor for their leadership and vision and their aim to end dirty and dangerous offshore drilling. America must take the path to a cleaner energy future and we need to start now."


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