Obama Administration to Expand Marine Sanctuaries
The Obama Administration is moving ahead with a dramatic expansion of the national marine sanctuaries off Northern California. The decision would ban offshore oil drilling along 50 miles of coastline.
More than 2,000 square miles of ocean habitat would be added to the Cordell Bank and Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuaries, extending them north to Mendocino County.
Fishing and boating would still be allowed. But Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey says oil rigs would be nowhere in sight.
“This area is national treasure," Woolsey said. "It needs and it deserves permanent protection from oil and gas exploration.”
California lawmakers tried to pass the expansion in 2008, but Senator Barbara Boxer says Republicans opposed it.
“Drill, drill, baby, drill,” Boxer said. “We say: 'why, baby, why,' when we have so many jobs that are directly related to the beautiful coastline.”
NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will make the final decision after public hearings. The move comes just a day after California opened new marine protected areas in state waters on the north coast.