Representative Lynn Woolsey (D-Petaluma) announced today that Governor Jerry Brown and California Secretary of Natural Resources John Laird have endorsed her legislation that would more than double the size of the Cordell Bank and Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuaries.
Under the bill, H.R. 192, the sanctuary boundaries would extend further and deeper into the Pacific, permanently protecting the entire Sonoma County coast and part of the Southern Mendocino coast from oil and gas exploration. All told, the expansion would cover an additional 2,000 nautical miles, an area the size of Delaware.
"The endorsement of Governor Brown and Secretary Laird adds to the overwhelming grassroots support for my bill," Rep. Woolsey said. "From fishermen and chambers of commerce to university scientists and environmental advocates, there is broad consensus in the community that this legislation will both strengthen our local economy and safeguard our natural resources.
"The North Bay has some of the most exquisitely beautiful, biologically abundant and nutrient-rich waters on the face of the earth. We must be conscientious stewards. Our coast is for future generations to enjoy and not for oil companies to drill and profit from."
Secretary Laird, in an endorsement letter (attached) written on Governor Brown's behalf, cited the local Sanctuaries' ability to "support important commercial and recreational fisheries, tourism and recreation industries, and coastal economies and communities." Sec. Laird added: "Improving management to strengthen the protections of these critical ecosystems within the Sanctuaries will help to ensure a clean and safe environment for healthy fish stocks to thrive, keeping fisherman and tour operators on the water."
The National Marine Sanctuary System, administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), was established in 1972 and includes 14 underwater protected areas around the country.
Rep. Woolsey's bill (titled "The Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries Boundary Modification and Protection Act") has 70 co-sponsors and passed the House of Representatives by unanimous voice vote in 2008. The companion Senate bill, offered by Sen. Barbara Boxer (CA), cleared the Senate Energy and Commerce Committee in February of this year.