65 California Cities, Counties Oppose Trump's Offshore Drilling Plan
At least 65 California cities and counties have taken action opposing new fossil fuel leasing in the Pacific Ocean since President Trump proposed a massive expansion of drilling in federal waters last year. That ongoing campaign now represents communities with 21.3 million Californians—more than half the state's population.
These actions, combined with recent public opinion polling showing that 69 percent of Californians oppose new offshore drilling, come as the California Legislature considers Assembly Bill 1775 and Senate Bill 834, which would prohibit new infrastructure to serve expanded federal offshore oil leasing. Members of the Coalition to Protect the Pacific have supported a campaign, which will continue through the fall as the Trump administration works on the next draft of its offshore leasing plan.
"We need to protect our beautiful South Bay as well as the health of the residents who live and work near the coast and the marine environment. A.B. 1775 will do just that by prohibiting the State Lands Commission from approving any new leases for pipelines, piers, wharves or other infrastructure needed to support new federal oil and gas development in the three-mile area off the coast that is controlled by the state," said Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance), sponsor of A.B. 1775.
The movement to protect the Pacific gained momentum following the Jan. 4 release of the administration's draft leasing plan, which proposes lease sales in almost all federal waters. That would include the first fossil fuel leases in the Pacific in more than 30 years. The California League of Cities has also officially endorsed the state's efforts to protect its coast.
"California communities reject offshore drilling and are building a wall of opposition to Trump's reckless agenda. It's inspiring to watch community leaders rise up to protect the Pacific from dangerous drilling," said Blake Kopcho, an organizer at the Center for Biological Diversity. "We won't let Trump and his corrupt cronies pollute our coastline with oil spills and toxic fracking chemicals."
At least 54 cities or counties have passed resolutions opposing the offshore drilling expansion and 11 have sent formal letters of opposition, while another two community advisory bodies have also recommended against issuing new leases or fracking permits.
"Californians are adamantly opposed to new oil drilling off our coast," said Linda Krop, chief counsel at the Environmental Defense Center. "As we were reminded in 2015, if new oil development is allowed off our coast it is not a question of if, but when, another disastrous oil spill will damage our environment and economy."
Most of the California resolutions and letters call for:
- A ban on new offshore oil and gas drilling, fracking and other well stimulation in federal and state waters off the California coast;
- A ban on new federal oil and gas leases in all U.S. waters, including the Pacific Ocean.
"It would be a travesty if the federal administration succeeds in re-opening West Coast waters to expanded offshore drilling, at the risk of coastal communities, economies, and ocean wildlife," said Ashley Blacow, Pacific policy and communications manager with Oceana. "Cities and counties across the West Coast are forming a united front sending a clear message to Washington, DC that our coast is not for sale.
The Coalition to Protect the Pacific, a collection of environmental groups, indigenous tribes and local businesses, has worked with local activists in cities and counties along the West Coast to pass resolutions and letters opposing Trump's proposed expansion of offshore drilling.
In response to President Trump's April 2017 executive order to expand offshore energy development, Californians organized community-based opposition to the proposal. Resolutions have been passed in: Alameda County, Arcata, Berkeley, Capitola, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Chula Vista, Contra Costa County, Culver City, Dana Point, Encinitas, Fort Bragg, Goleta, Grover Beach, Half Moon Bay, Humboldt County, Imperial Beach, Laguna Beach, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Marin County, Marina, Mendocino County, Monterey County, Morro Bay, Norwalk, Oceanside, Oakland, Ojai, Pacifica, Petaluma, Point Arena, Redondo Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, San Mateo County, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara County, Santa Clarita, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz County, Santa Monica, Scotts Valley, Solana Beach, Sonoma County, Ukiah, Ventura County, Watsonville, West Hollywood and Windsor. Appointed community bodies in Venice and Cayucos also passed similar resolutions. Jurisdictions sending letters include Carpinteria, Del Mar, Hermosa Beach, Los Osos, Monterey, Oxnard, Pismo Beach, San Diego County, San Leandro, San Luis Obispo County and Ventura.
The last offshore lease in federal waters off California was in 1984, but Trump's order seeks to renew the leasing program. There are more than 30 offshore drilling platforms and islands and hundreds of miles of underwater oil and gas pipelines off California's coast. Oil companies conduct fracking from some of the offshore wells using chemicals toxic to wildlife and the public.
Separate lawsuits filed by the state of California, Environmental Defense Center and the Center for Biological Diversity challenging the federal government's approval of offshore fracking are pending in federal district court.
California Air Board Pushes Back on Trump Plan to Lower Emissions Standards https://t.co/wQFwserpE7 #California… https://t.co/cGtTPWI4O0— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1533735728.0
- New Clues Help Monarch Butterfly Conservation Efforts - EcoWatch ›
- Monarch Butterflies Will Be Protected Under Historic Deal - EcoWatch ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
California faces another "critically dry year" according to state officials, and a destructive wildfire season looms on its horizon. But in a state that welcomes innovation, water efficacy approaches and drought management could replenish California, increasingly threatened by the climate's new extremes.
- Remarkable Drop in Colorado River Water Use Sign of Climate ... ›
- California Faces a Future of Extreme Weather - EcoWatch ›
Wisdom the mōlī, or Laysan albatross, is the oldest wild bird known to science at the age of at least 70. She is also, as of February 1, a new mother.
<div id="dadb2" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="aa2ad8cb566c9b4b6d2df2693669f6f9"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1357796504740761602" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">🚨Cute baby alert! Wisdom's chick has hatched!!! 🐣😍 Wisdom, a mōlī (Laysan albatross) and world’s oldest known, ban… https://t.co/Nco050ztBA</div> — USFWS Pacific Region (@USFWS Pacific Region)<a href="https://twitter.com/USFWSPacific/statuses/1357796504740761602">1612558888.0</a></blockquote></div>
By Hui Hu
Winter is supposed to be the best season for wind power – the winds are stronger, and since air density increases as the temperature drops, more force is pushing on the blades. But winter also comes with a problem: freezing weather.
Comparing rime ice and glaze ice shows how each changes the texture of the blade. Gao, Liu and Hu, 2021, CC BY-ND
Ice buildup changes air flow around the turbine blade, which can slow it down. The top photos show ice forming after 10 minutes at different temperatures in the Wind Research Tunnel. The lower measurements show airflow separation as ice accumulates. Icing Research Tunnel of Iowa State University, CC BY-ND
While traditional investment in the ocean technology sector has been tentative, growth in Israeli maritime innovations has been exponential in the last few years, and environmental concern has come to the forefront.
theDOCK aims to innovate the Israeli maritime sector. Pexels<p>The UN hopes that new investments in ocean science and technology will help turn the tide for the oceans. As such, this year kicked off the <a href="https://www.oceandecade.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)</a> to galvanize massive support for the blue economy.</p><p>According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the "sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem," <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412019338255#b0245" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Science Direct</a> reported. It represents this new sector for investments and innovations that work in tandem with the oceans rather than in exploitation of them.</p><p>As recently as Aug. 2020, <a href="https://www.reutersevents.com/sustainability/esg-investors-slow-make-waves-25tn-ocean-economy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Reuters</a> noted that ESG Investors, those looking to invest in opportunities that have a positive impact in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, have been interested in "blue finance" but slow to invest.</p><p>"It is a hugely under-invested economic opportunity that is crucial to the way we have to address living on one planet," Simon Dent, director of blue investments at Mirova Natural Capital, told Reuters.</p><p>Even with slow investment, the blue economy is still expected to expand at twice the rate of the mainstream economy by 2030, Reuters reported. It already contributes $2.5tn a year in economic output, the report noted.</p><p>Current, upward <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/-innovation-blue-economy-2646147405.html" target="_self">shifts in blue economy investments are being driven by innovation</a>, a trend the UN hopes will continue globally for the benefit of all oceans and people.</p><p>In Israel, this push has successfully translated into investment in and innovation of global ports, shipping, logistics and offshore sectors. The "Startup Nation," as Israel is often called, has seen its maritime tech ecosystem grow "significantly" in recent years and expects that growth to "accelerate dramatically," <a href="https://itrade.gov.il/belgium-english/how-israel-is-becoming-a-port-of-call-for-maritime-innovation/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">iTrade</a> reported.</p><p>Driving this wave of momentum has been rising Israeli venture capital hub <a href="https://www.thedockinnovation.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">theDOCK</a>. Founded by Israeli Navy veterans in 2017, theDOCK works with early-stage companies in the maritime space to bring their solutions to market. The hub's pioneering efforts ignited Israel's maritime technology sector, and now, with their new fund, theDOCK is motivating these high-tech solutions to also address ESG criteria.</p><p>"While ESG has always been on theDOCK's agenda, this theme has become even more of a priority," Nir Gartzman, theDOCK's managing partner, told EcoWatch. "80 percent of the startups in our portfolio (for theDOCK's Navigator II fund) will have a primary or secondary contribution to environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria."</p><p>In a company presentation, theDOCK called contribution to the ESG agenda a "hot discussion topic" for traditional players in the space and their boards, many of whom are looking to adopt new technologies with a positive impact on the planet. The focus is on reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment, the presentation outlines. As such, theDOCK also explicitly screens candidate investments by ESG criteria as well.</p><p>Within the maritime space, environmental innovations could include measures like increased fuel and energy efficiency, better monitoring of potential pollution sources, improved waste and air emissions management and processing of marine debris/trash into reusable materials, theDOCK's presentation noted.</p>
theDOCK team includes (left to right) Michal Hendel-Sufa, Head of Alliances, Noa Schuman, CMO, Nir Gartzman, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, and Hannan Carmeli, Co-Founder & Managing Partner. Dudu Koren<p>theDOCK's own portfolio includes companies like Orca AI, which uses an intelligent collision avoidance system to reduce the probability of oil or fuel spills, AiDock, which eliminates the use of paper by automating the customs clearance process, and DockTech, which uses depth "crowdsourcing" data to map riverbeds in real-time and optimize cargo loading, thereby reducing trips and fuel usage while also avoiding groundings.</p><p>"Oceans are a big opportunity primarily because they are just that – big!" theDOCK's Chief Marketing Officer Noa Schuman summarized. "As such, the magnitude of their criticality to the global ecosystem, the magnitude of pollution risk and the steps needed to overcome those challenges – are all huge."</p><p>There is hope that this wave of interest and investment in environmentally-positive maritime technologies will accelerate the blue economy and ESG investing even further, in Israel and beyond.</p>
- 14 Countries Commit to Ocean Sustainability Initiative - EcoWatch ›
- These 11 Innovations Are Protecting Ocean Life - EcoWatch ›
- How Innovation Is Driving the Blue Economy - EcoWatch ›