If President Donald Trump has his way, the Golden State is about to turn a dark, oozy brown. That’s the color of leaking crude oil as it spoils our beaches, suffocates our wildlife and sucks the life out of our economy.
That’s why I’ve joined with a team of members from the state Legislature to draw a line in the sand and stop President Trump’s dangerous plan to open the entire West Coast to oil drilling.
Worse than we ever imagined, it’s a complete giveaway to his buds in Big Oil. In addition to making the California coast ground zero for new oil drilling, the plan guts environmental protections that have been hard-fought and won over decades.
Mark my words: We will not back down. We will fight back in the Legislature, in the courts and ultimately at the ballot box.
As a start, we’ve introduced legislation in the state Senate that will prohibit any refining, loading or transporting of crude from any of President Trump’s proposed new oil rigs off of our coast.
Next, and most importantly, we need you to join this fight. Last Thursday in Sacramento was the only public forum in California that the president has planned. That in and of itself is appalling, especially since the president’s mind is already made up — he wants to drill.
Nevertheless, it’s important to send an overwhelming message and create a good public record.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, an agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior, still has a virtual meeting room available online atboem.gov/National-Program-Participate. There you will also find instructions on how to make comments, which can be submitted through March 9.
We all know that oil spills have lasting and devastating impacts on our environment, but a large spill off of the California coast would also have a massive impact on our economy.
Coastal communities contribute $40 billion a year to our overall state economy and provide half a million important jobs. Commercial fisheries in the state are valued at more than $7 billion annually.
Ocean-dependent tourism is valued at over $10 billion annually and growing. Recreational fishing is valued at over $2 billion each year. President Trump is putting this all at risk and trying to shove dozens of oil rigs down our throat.
To make matters worse, Big Oil has no idea how to clean up oil spills. A recent article published at Smithsonian.com stated that only an estimated 25 percent of the oil was recovered after the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010. A measly 14 percent of the oil from the Exxon Valdez, back in 1989, was recovered from that catastrophic disaster. The rest of it stays with us, killing our wildlife, our economy, our health and our quality of life.
And yet, our president pushes forward with his alarming drilling plan even though poll after poll shows an overwhelming number of Californians, Republicans and Democrats alike, have opposed new rigs off of our coast for decades.
President Trump, like a bull in a china shop — or perhaps more like Godzilla raging through downtown — is determined to wreck our coast, our economy and the environmental safeguards generations of Californians have fought so hard for.
It’s time to take action and make your voice heard by putting your comments on the record. California will win this fight, but we have to work together and draw a line in the sand to stop this reckless plan.
Mike McGuire, a Democrat from Healdsburg, represents Marin in the state Senate. Before his election in 2014, McGuire was a member of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors and the Healdsburg City Council.