January 25, 2018

Harris, Feinstein, California House Delegation Urge Interior Department to Allow Californians to Comment on Offshore Drilling Proposal

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senators Kamala D. Harris and Dianne Feinstein (both D-Calif), and nearly two dozen fellow members of the California delegation urged the Department of Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to provide Californians with more opportunities to directly address the Trump Administration’s controversial offshore drilling plan in their own communities.

The lawmakers requested that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and BOEM Acting Director Walter Cruickshank add public meetings in the Northern and Southern California draft proposed program areas, in addition to an upcoming meeting scheduled in the Central California draft proposed program area. In total, six leases are proposed to be sold, two in each program area, putting the entire California coast at risk by oil and gas drilling.

“We write to urge you to add two more public meetings in California to the schedule of public meetings as part of the public comment period for the proposed 2019-2024 National OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program,” said the group of California lawmakers. “The public meetings offered around the country are a critical opportunity for citizens to learn about and comment on the Department of the Interior’s five-year plan.”

The lawmakers continued, “Given the geographical nature of the proposed leasing program, it is important to provide adequate access to the public meetings for each of the impacted regions. In order to afford our constituents this opportunity, we urge the Department of Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to add public meetings in the Northern and Southern California Draft Proposed Program Areas.”  

In addition to Harris and Feinstein, the letter was signed by the following California Representatives: Ted Lieu (CA-33), Jared Huffman (CA-2), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Grace Napolitano (CA-32), Salud Carbajal (CA-24), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Scott Peters (CA-52), Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Luis Correa (CA-46), John Garamendi (CA-3), Mark Takano (CA-41), Jerry McNerney (CA-9), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Nanette Diaz Barragan (CA-44), Norma Torres (CA-35), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Doris Matsui (CA-6), Jim Costa (CA-16), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), Tony Cardenas (CA-29), and Brad Sherman (CA-30).

A copy of the letter text follows and can be downloaded here:

 

January 25, 2018

 

The Honorable Ryan Zinke                           

Secretary

United States Department of the Interior

1849 C Street, NW

Washington, D.C. 20240

 

Acting Director Dr. Walter Cruickshank

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

1849 C Street, NW

Washington, D.C. 20240

Dear Mr. Secretary Zinke and Acting Director Dr. Cruickshank:

            We write to urge you to add two more public meetings in California to the schedule of public meetings as part of the public comment period for the proposed 2019-2024 National OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program. The public meetings offered around the country are a critical opportunity for citizens to learn about and comment on the Department of the Interior’s five year plan.

            Currently, the only scheduled public meeting in California is in Sacramento on February 8th, 2018. However, due to the size of the state, California encompasses three of the Draft Proposed Program Areas: Northern California, Central California, and Southern California. Residents in the northern coastal city of Crescent City would have to travel nearly 400 miles to participate in the public meeting, while residents of San Diego in the southern part of the state would have to travel over 500 miles. If the Department of Interior seeks to adequately provide access to these public meetings, there should be at least one meeting held in each of the Draft Proposed Program Areas.

            Given the geographical nature of the proposed leasing program, it is important to provide adequate access to the public meetings for each of the impacted regions. In order to afford our constituents this opportunity, we urge the Department of Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to add public meetings in the Northern and Southern California Draft Proposed Program Areas.    

Sincerely,

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