Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach City Councilmembers are looking to stop new offshore oil drilling in federal and state waters in the wake of an oil spill off the Orange County coast.
The spill miles off the coast of Huntington Beach earlier this month has sparked a debate over the future of offshore oil drilling with some lawmakers calling for bans on new offshore drilling.
In recent days, Congress members have been debating such a ban on offshore drilling with some arguing that a ban will harm the environment and spike energy prices.
Others say offshore drilling is a ticking time bomb and spills are inevitable if the drilling doesn’t stop.
Now, Huntington Beach city council members will consider a resolution in support of a permanent ban on offshore oil and gas drilling and fracking off the California coast at their city council meeting tonight.
“While we understand that oil still plays a large role in our day-to-day lives, it is clear that local communities like Huntington Beach must take a proactive stance to reduce their reliance on oil and support more sustainable and safer forms of energy that will neither strain nor damage our environment,” reads a report from Mayor Kim Carr and Councilwoman Natalie Moser who have requested the resolution.
The resolution also calls for a ban on new federal oil and gas leasing in U.S. waters.
The meeting will start at 6 p.m. at the Council Chambers and can be attended in person or through Zoom. It can also be streamed live through the city website.
Days after the spill, the council members held a special meeting to declare the spill a local emergency.
At the meeting, residents like KC Fockler — who sits on the city’s environmental board — called on the council to consider such a resolution.
“This recent spill proves that accidents will happen and it’s not a question of if but a question of when,” he said.
Fockler isn’t alone.
Since the spill, lawmakers have started calling for a ban on new offshore drilling.
In California, new offshore drilling is already nearly impossible to set up, with the state not issuing new permits needed to pipe oil to shore, but existing oil rigs are getting their lifespans extended through federal permits for new equipment.
Some lawmakers are taking it a step further and calling for an end to existing offshore drilling in federal and state water, like state Sen. Dave Min (D-Irvine).
Laguna Beach City Councilmembers are expected to join the growing calls to ban offshore oil drilling.
City officials there are slated to vote on a resolution opposing both current and future oil and gas drilling operations in federal and state waters off the California coast at their meeting tonight.
“The City supports ending all current and future offshore drilling and production operations in State and Federal waters off the coast of California, and urges our state and federal representatives to pursue legislation to achieve this outcome,” reads the resolution request by Mayor Bob Whalen and Councilwoman Sue Kempf
Laguna Beach Councilmembers joined Min and State Sen. Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) in sending a letter calling on Orange County’s Congressional delegation to spearhead efforts to completely end offshore drilling in federal waters.
The call to action was also supported by some Huntington Beach City Councilmembers.
Hosam Elattar is a Voice of OC Reporting Fellow. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ElattarHosam.