Representative Mike Levin Highlights Californians’ Opposition to Offshore Drilling on House Floor

September 11, 2019
Press Release
Levin Delivers Remarks Prior to House Passage of Legislation to Ban New Drilling Off Pacific and Atlantic Coasts

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Levin (D-CA) delivered remarks on the House floor highlighting Californians’ opposition to offshore drilling ahead of a vote on the Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act (H.R. 1941), which blocks new offshore drilling along the Atlantic and Pacific coastlines and passed the House today. The bill was one of the first pieces of legislation that Representative Levin cosponsored as a Member of Congress.

Tomorrow, the House is expected to pass the Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act (H.R. 1146), legislation cosponsored by Levin that repeals a provision that Republicans snuck into their GOP Tax Scam that clears the way for oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.

Click here for video of Levin’s speech or see below for a transcript of his remarks:

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 1941, the Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act, to ban new offshore drilling along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

My district is home to over 50 miles of beautiful California coastline. It’s home to some of the world’s premier marine research institutions, not to mention some of the best surfing in the country.

In San Diego and Orange Counties, the ocean economy accounts for $7.7 billion dollars and sustains more than 140,000 jobs in coastal tourism and recreation.

All it will take to jeopardize those jobs is a massive spill like the one we saw off the coast of Santa Barbara in 2015, which poured 142,000 gallons of crude oil into the water and onto beaches across Southern California.

That’s why the people I represent have made their voices heard loud and clear: No more drilling off our coast. We can’t allow the fossil fuel industry and their friends in the Trump Administration to exploit our oceans for their own profit, rollback safety regulations that help prevent spills, and threaten hundreds of thousands of jobs.

I expect we’ll hear a lot more from my friends across the aisle – many of whom represent landlocked districts – who will claim there’s nothing to worry about it. Well, they should know that the folks who actually live in coastal communities won’t stop fighting to protect our oceans and our jobs.

I yield back.

[…]

Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to the Amendment offered by Representative McClintock.

There is absolutely no sense in making a special exception to open the waters along the Pacific coast for drilling.

Supporters of this amendment clearly represent districts many miles from the nearest coastline. Maybe they never saw the tar washing up on Southern California beaches after the Santa Barbara oil spill in 2015.

Maybe they haven’t visited with small businesses in coastal communities like mine that depend on tourism and recreation to survive.

Maybe they don’t know that offshore drilling threatens nearly 746,000 jobs and nearly $53 billion dollars in GDP along the West Coast.

However, I’ve seen that devastation; I’ve visited those small businesses; and I am well aware of how many jobs could and would be lost if we suffer from another spill along the Pacific coast.

I also know that more than 90 West Coast municipalities and all three Pacific Coast state governors formally oppose offshore drilling.

The people I represent in San Diego and Orange Counties certainly do as well. They know that the risks far outweigh any benefit that fossil fuel companies will reap from drilling off our coast, and I’m here to raise their voices.

Mr. Speaker, many of my Republican colleagues in the Natural Resources Committee try to justify their push to destroy our coastal communities with offshore drilling by claiming that the alternative to expanded drilling is imported foreign oil.

If my friends on the other side of the aisle were serious about addressing oil imports, they would not sit idly by as the Trump Administration works to completely undermine our country’s fuel efficiency standards.

If they were serious, they would support the State of California as it works to strengthen fuel economy so that this country is not dependent on oil, period, and so that Americans can save money at the pump.

California is working to reduce oil imports with its vehicle emissions standards and Low Carbon Fuel Standard. But the Trump Administration is fighting tooth and nail to stop it by revoking the state’s Clean Air Act waiver and challenging its groundbreaking agreement with automakers to set strong standards.

Those who support the Trump Administration’s efforts are hitting my constituents not once, but twice.

First, they’re making cars less efficient, which drives climate change and hurts air quality in Southern California. And now supporters of this amendment are seeking to increase the chances of an environmental catastrophe that could do irreparable damage to my constituents’ communities and our local economy.

I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to recognize the impact that this amendment will have on Pacific Coast economies by strongly opposing it.

Thank you, I yield back.

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