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Obama Urged to Act to Protect Coast Before Leaving Office

January 11, 2017

15966935_10157956390560304_1638954725_oBy Marinee Zavala

Dozens of signature-gathering tables and a website were just part of a San Diego movement to urge current President Barack Obama to solidify protections for Southern California coastal ecosystems before Donald Trump takes office.

San Diego local leaders, environmental organizations, and community members came together to send a letter to the sitting President in hopes of achieving the protection goals before Trump’s Inauguration Day.

San Diego Council Members expressed their concerns due to the lack of action by the federal government to bolster protection for the ocean and the 11 marine protected areas on the coast along San Diego County.

“Protecting our regional waters from accidental oil spills and other negative impacts caused by the extraction of fuels is critical for the environmental and economic sustainability of our region,” stated San Diego City Council District 1 representative Barbara Bry.

Another major concern they hope to resolve before the new President takes Office is how little protection there is regarding offshore drilling platforms and industrial ships.

“We need to protect deep waters specifically against oil and gas exploration and drilling, because there are always spills, constant disasters. Plus, we are trying to reduce the amount of oil and gas being used and replace them with clean energy,” said San Diego WILDCOAST Policy Director Fay Crevoshay.

The urgent letter sent to the White House asks President Obama to exercise his authority to, under Section 12(a) of the 1953 Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, permanently prevent offshore drilling, provide immediate relief to a region they feel is at risk.

“Spills are an ever-present danger here and in any other coast; spills are not an accident they couldhappen at some point, but rather something we can expect, and we need to know that oil is now being found in deeper and deeper places,” Crevoshay added .

During the letter signing ceremony, Hawaiian professional surfer and environmentalist Cliff Kapono joined others in stressing how necessary these efforts are to protect marine ecosystems that continue to impact the U.S. coastline, which also provides jobs to over 50,000 people in the marine industry and the Armed Forces.

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