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    Offshore Drilling on the Pacific Coast: It Would Be Nice to Think Trump Plan is Dead, But Only U.S. Senate Can Remove All Doubt

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    The U.S. House has voted to protect California’s coastal economy.  Now, it’s time for the U.S. Senate to do it’s job. 

    The Business Alliance for Protecting the Pacific (BAPPC) – whose membership represents over 4,000 businesses – opposes expanded offshore oil drilling. As you plan your coverage and editorials moving forward, BAPPC encourages you to keep in mind the importance of the state’s ocean economy and the economic havoc an oil spill can bring. Expanded offshore drilling poses a grave threat to California’s $43.5 billion ocean economy – and the companies, jobs and communities that depend on it.

    While the Department of Interior’s Five-Year Offshore Oil and Gas drilling plan to open California and virtually every other coastal state up to expanded offshore drilling has been delayed, it has not been canceled. It is essential to keep a strong spotlight on this issue. The state’s ocean economy is comprised of tourism, recreation, fishing, construction and other industries. 

    The ocean economy – and indeed, the very identity of California and its 840 miles of coastline – remains at risk because of the Trump administration’s offshore drilling proposal.

    The issue remains live in Congress. This month, the U.S. House passed two bills with bipartisan support to permanently protect the Pacific coast and other regions of the country from the threat of offshore drilling. However, the Senate is unlikely to vote on these critical bills under Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s watch.

    Further, members of California’s delegation, including California Reps. Duncan Hunter, Devin Nunes, Doug LaMalfa, Tom McClintock, Ken Calvert, Paul Cook, and Kevin McCarthy all voted against the bill that would have specifically protected the California coast and it’s 550,010 ocean economy jobs.

    Through your editorial pages and reporting, we hope you will raise awareness of this ongoing threat and encourage the Senate and local lawmakers to defend California’s coast and its ocean economy from the devastating impacts of inevitable oil spills.

    Some statewide statistics from BAPPC and partner E2 (see full factsheet here):

    • $43.5 billion: How much California’s ocean economy generates each year from ocean-related businesses in tourism, recreation, construction and fishing (and not including oil and gas)
    • 2 million: The number of businesses (ocean and non-ocean related) in coastal California counties
    • $23.3 billion: The value of California’s ocean tourism and recreation industry
    • 430,000: The number of Californians who work in ocean tourism and recreation

    And local county focused statistics (see full factsheet here):

    • LOS ANGELES COUNTY: $13.8 billion is generated by the ocean economy (including tourism, recreation, construction and fishing but not oil and gas), which supports more than 111,800 jobs.
    • SAN DIEGO COUNTY: $8.1 billion is generated by the ocean economy, supporting about 114,900 jobs.
    • ORANGE COUNTY: $4.3 billion is generated by the ocean economy, which supports about 56,900 jobs.
    • SANTA BARBARA COUNTY: $1.2 billion is generated by the ocean economy, which supports about 18,500 jobs.
    • VENTURA COUNTY: $763 million is generated by the ocean economy, which supports more than 15,800 jobs.

    Already, there is widespread and bipartisan opposition to the offshore drilling around the nation, including from 44 U.S. senators and 258 U.S. representatives. Additionally, 11 coastal governors are on record opposing offshore drilling, and in California almost100 cities and counties have taken action to oppose the Trump administration’s plan to expand offshore drilling.

    A stalled Senate vote and the restarting of the Five-Year plan are by no means the only threats related to the Administration’s dirty energy agenda. A federal judge in Alaska on March 29th rejected as unconstitutional President Trump’s order to overturn permanent bans on oil and gas leasing in almost all of the U.S. Arctic Ocean and biologically rich offshore canyons of the Atlantic. The Administration has appealed that decision and the case continues to move forward.

    Oil and gas aren’t the only offshore energy resources.

    Developing responsibly sited offshore wind projects in California can help reduce our climate change impact and meet our state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals while creating jobs and economic growth without threatening our coastal economy with oil spills or related disasters.

    A study by National Renewable Energy Laboratory, for instance, shows that a 16 GW offshore wind development in California would create 6,000 long‐term jobs, a $39.7 billion GDP boost from construction and a $7.9 billion annual GDP increase resulting from  the projects’ 25 years of operations. 

    And that doesn’t even capture the full economic impact of offshore wind. A study from the American Jobs Project shows that if California were to install 18 GW of offshore wind by 2045, it would create more than 17,500 new direct and indirect jobs in offshore wind, related industries and local business.

    If you would like to arrange interviews or an editorial board meeting with members and representatives from BAPPC, please contact Alex Frank at (703) 276-3264 or [email protected]

    ABOUT BAPPC: The Business Alliance for Protecting the Pacific Coast (BAPPC) is the leading business voice opposing new and expanded oil and gas development off the Pacific Coast because of the unacceptable and unnecessary risk it poses to our businesses and the lifestyles of our customers and employees. BAPPC aims to ensure the long-term health and vitality of our ocean ecosystems, coastal businesses, communities, and clean energy future. For more information, visit https://defendthepacific.org/


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