On Tuesday, the Board approved a resolution by Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Janice Hahn supporting a ban on new offshore oil and gas drilling, and new oil and gas wells along California’s coast. The resolution also backs an initiative for no new Federal oil and gas leasing in all US waters.

Given the anti-environmental actions of the current federal administration, it is becoming increasingly important to set a precedent for environmental leadership at the state and local level. LA County, the state of California, and many individual municipalities have stepped up, playing a pivotal role in continuing to implement measures that protect the state’s vast and diverse natural resources.

Offshore oil and gas drilling and exploration are a direct threat to the wellbeing and health of the Pacific Ocean and its ecosystems. It increases the risk of large-scale oil spills and other damage. Past oil spills have harmed wildlife and negatively impacted recreational and commercial activities. In 2015, a pipeline that serviced offshore oil platforms burst, and took months of intense restoration work to mitigate the damage to surrounding animal and plant life.

Despite a mounting body of evidence, President Trump has expressed plans to expand offshore oil and gas leasing, which have been mostly off-limits to new federal leasing since 1984. Not only have these offshore drilling and fracking projects shown the potential to cause significant harm to our oceans, but they also deepen the state’s dependence on fossil fuels.

The Governor of California, Attorney General, State Senate, State Lands Commission, and many municipalities are vehemently opposed to projects that limit the genuine progress made toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions and moving toward renewable energy. These activities pose an unacceptably high risk of damage and destruction to California’s marine environment and increase the impact of human-made climate change from excessive reliance on fossil fuels.

The Board of Supervisors strongly supports this position and is committed to continuing to make LA County an example of dedicated environmental stewardship and innovation in sustainability.

This is a critical step toward ensuring that County residents, visitors, and wildlife will be able to enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Ocean for years to come.