Legislators against new oil and gas leases off California coast

WASHINGTON >> Reps. Jared Huffman (CA-02), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), and Lois Capps (CA-24) led a letter from members of the California Congressional delegation to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, urging her to prohibit any new offshore oil and gas lease sales in the California Outer Continental Shelf Planning Areas as her department develops the next schedule of potential offshore oil and gas lease sales.

The letter, sent last week, was signed by 35 members of the California Congressional delegation, including Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, and calls for a continued focus on developing clean, renewable sources of offshore energy rather than expanding oil and gas development.

"Californians have repeatedly spoken out against new offshore drilling," the members of Congress wrote. "It is imperative that we promote the use of these clean technologies and protect the integrity of our state's coastline from new offshore oil and gas development for both current and future Californians. The known risks of expanding offshore drilling in these areas far outweigh any potential benefits."

The Department of Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management updates its Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program every five years. The development of the next five year program, slated for 2017-2022, is underway. The letter was submitted as part of the 45-day comment period, which closes on July 31, 2014.