Hundreds of people, from all over California, came to Sacramento on Thursday Feb. 8th, to send a very loud message to the Trump Administration against offshore oil drilling off our coast. With signs and shouts, the International Marine Mammal Project team and our community members joined the march from the State Capitol to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) meeting. Billed as an “open house”, it was really a promotion by the Trump Administration in favor of oil exploration and drilling in the ocean. Similar protests were being held all around the US.
Several representatives of California Native American tribes spoke at the Sacramento demonstration, as did representatives from the California Nurses Association and scientists. Many members of the California State Assembly and Senate also spoke out against offshore oil drilling. They announced that legislation has been introduced to block pipelines and other infrastructure along the California coast, so oil companies, that would have to resort to more expensive ways to move the oil, would likely not bother to bid on any leases offered by the Trump Administration.
And the Trump Administration is being very ‘generous’, offering offshore leases for an estimated 90% of the US coastline to the oil companies, including virtually the entire Pacific coastline, from Canada to Mexico.
Longtime International Marine Mammal Project volunteer and supporter Michael Reppy brought along Big Blue, our inflatable dolphin, which teamed up with an inflatable sea turtle across the lawn. IMMP was a sponsor of the demonstration along with many other environmental organizations, including Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Turtle Island, Ocean Conservation Research, and the Sierra Club. Big Blue was featured in many of the news stories about the event.
The BOEM meeting itself was quite an anti-climax. There was no oral testimony allowed, only written comments on a form and/or a bank of computers so attendees could enter their comments to the online portal for BOEM. This proved frustrating to many people who had travelled all the way to Sacramento prepared to speak out in the public forum. A short video presented the drilling proposal, and several displays were set up in the room, including one called “The Value of Oil.” Nothing was said by the BOEM displays about oil spills or environmental values.
The International Marine Mammal Project plans to continue fighting offshore oil exploration and drilling where ever it is proposed. Watch our blogs for future information and action.
Ask that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management put an end to Trump's giveaway of coastal ocean areas to drilling, that they support legislation that will promote healthy, oil-free ocean environments, and emphasize the necessity to transition to clean energy across the nation.
The deadline for comments is March 9th, 2018. CLICK HERE and submit your comments or send in your comments via mail to the address indicated.