Rep. Huffman Introduces Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act
Washington, D.C.- A day after President Trump’s devastating Executive Order designed to expand coal, oil, and gas leasing on public lands, Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) today reintroduced the Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act, a comprehensive bill that would make the Arctic Ocean off-limits to any future drilling proposals by prohibiting any new or renewed leases for the exploration, development, or production of oil, natural gas or any other minerals in the Arctic Ocean Planning Areas of the Outer Continental Shelf.
“Dangerous oil spills are the reality of offshore drilling, and if we allow drilling in the Arctic Ocean, it is only a matter of time before environmental catastrophe strikes,” said Rep. Huffman. “We must permanently protect the Arctic Ocean for future generations. This is a Presidency by the oil industry, of the oil industry, and for the oil industry: from President Trump’s choice of the Exxon C.E.O. as Secretary of State, to his personal financial stakes in the oil and gas industry, to his recent executive actions to roll back climate protections, he is proving that his White House will jeopardize clean air, clean water, and America's outdoor heritage to further line the pockets of Big Oil.”
Specifically, this legislation:
· Acknowledges that global climate change is occurring due largely to anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and will continue to pose ongoing risks and challenges to the people and the government of the United States;
· Recognizes that in order to manage the Arctic Ocean for the best interest of the people, the United States must, in part, keep fossil fuels in the ground to avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change;
· Prohibits new leasing for the exploration, development or production of oil, natural gas or any other minerals in the Arctic Ocean; and
· Prohibits the renewal of any existing leases for the same.
The Department of the Interior estimates a 75 percent chance of one or more large oil spills as a result of drilling in the Arctic Ocean. Should an oil spill occur, between 44% and 62% of spilled crude oil would remain in open water or broken ice longer than 30 days, neither dispersing nor evaporating.
Congressman Huffman has long been a leader in the fight against offshore drilling and to expand renewable energy and create clean energy jobs.
On the first day of the 115th Congress, Representative Huffman reintroduced the West Coast Ocean Protection Act, which would permanently protect the California, Oregon, and Washington coasts by amending the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to prohibit new oil or natural gas leases in each state’s outer continental shelves and permanently protect the $44 billion coastal economies of the three states, which support nearly 650,000 jobs.
In September of 2016, Rep. Huffman led a bipartisan letter from 74 members of Congress asking President Obama to take action to permanently protect the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans. In December 2016, President Obama announced that he would be using his authority under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act of 1953 to permanently protect 3.8 million publicly-owned acres in the Atlantic Ocean off the East Coast and 115 million acres in the U.S. Arctic Ocean from oil and gas leasing.
Huffman’s bill is supported by the following organizations:
Alaska Wilderness League, Center For Biological Diversity , Chukchi Sea Watch, Defenders Of Wildlife, Earthjustice, Environmental Investigation Agency, Environment America, Eyak Preservation Council, Friends Of The Earth, Greenpeace, League Of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, Northern Alaska Environmental Center, Ocean Conservation Research, Sierra Club.
The Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act is cosponsored by Representatives Nanette Diaz Barragan (D-CA), Donald Beyer (D-VA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Gerald Connolly (D-VA), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Luis Guttierez (D-IL), Ro Khanna (D-CA), James Langevin (D-RI), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), James McGovern (D-MA), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), Scott Peters (D-CA), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Jared Polis (D-CO), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Niki Tsongas (D-MA), Nydia Velasquez (D-NY), and Peter Welch (D-VT).