Baker introduces resolution urging feds to protect California coast from oil drilling

Local assemblywoman cites negative impacts on environment, state economy

President Donald Trump's administration has received a range of opposition to its proposal this month to open federal waters, including those near California, to new offshore oil drilling operations.

Count local Assemblywoman Catharine Baker among the critics on both sides of the political aisle.

Baker, a second-term Republican from the Tri-Valley, announced Friday that she introduced a resolution urging the federal government not to expand offshore drilling near California, citing environmental risks and negative economic impacts to the California coast and tourism industry.

"Local voices matter. Ours have spoken loud and clear on the subject of new offshore drilling for decades," said Baker, whose district includes the San Ramon Valley. "California's coastline is too important to our state's environment, character and economy. I'm encouraged that Florida got an exemption from this policy, and California should receive the same treatment."

The Trump administration announced last week its plan to expand offshore drilling in the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans. The proposal has led to objections by some residents and elected leaders -- Republican and Democrat -- from a variety of coastal states, as reported by the Associated Press and other national news organizations.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke changed course when it came to Florida earlier this week, saying drilling would not be allowed off the Sunshine State coast following backlash from key leaders, including Republican Gov. Rick Scott, citing local opposition and the importance of coastal tourism on the Florida economy.

Baker made similar arguments in her upcoming legislation urging no new oil drilling off California's coast.

Ocean-dependent tourism contributes more than $17 billion annually to California's economy and provides more than 350,000 jobs, Baker said, adding that the state's coastal economy creates some $1.7 trillion in gross domestic product.

She also cited the economic and food-sourcing benefits of California's fishing industry and the environmental value of the state's coastal ecosystem that "is home to a diverse variety of marine mammals, seabirds, sea turtles, marine fishes and invertebrates, including numerous threatened and endangered species."

Baker said the state has not issued a new drilling lease in state waters for 50 years while repeatedly urging the federal government to ban new offshore oil development. The California Coastal Sanctuary Act of 1994, which passed with bipartisan support, prohibits any new leases for the extraction of oil or gas in state waters, she added.


13 people like this
Posted by Darlene G
a resident of Alamo
on Jan 15, 2018 at 8:17 am

I completely agree with Catharine Baker. There is too much risk, as we've seen along the Gulf Coast. I feel new technology should be the focus, not more oil.

4 people like this
Posted by Bill W.
a resident of another community
on Jan 16, 2018 at 7:57 pm

This is a feeble gimmick by Baker to make it look like she cares. It has no force of law. She scored a miserable failing grade of 42% on the Sierra Club Legislative Scorecard and has taken thousands of dollars from petroleum interests.
Web Link

3 people like this
Posted by LDESCHAM
a resident of another community
on Jan 17, 2018 at 1:56 pm

I think a resolution is very misleading. Taking a leadership role on legislation would be far more effective. Assemblywoman Baker has provided a lot of communication and resolutions that lead one to believe...and yet actions always show more than words. Her votes to date have not shown she is a supporter of the environment nor protector of human health. In fact a lot of chemical and oil and gas Industries have provided support and donations to her campaign.

2 people like this
Posted by Shawn K
a resident of another community
on Jan 17, 2018 at 7:34 pm

Asm. Baker is my representative in Sacramento and she does not vote according my values. This is an example of weak leadership. We need someone with a bold vision for how to protect our environment from what is happening at the federal level. Baker has received millions in dark money support, including recent CARE-backed ads from the oil industry. You can see these oil ads posted on social media and at BART stations throughout the district.

2 people like this
Posted by Paul
a resident of Danville
on Jan 17, 2018 at 8:08 pm

I love all the comments from residents of another community. They certainly don't reflect the sentiments of Danville,Alamo,Blackhawk,Diablo.

4 people like this
Posted by Gaia Guy
a resident of Danville
on Jan 18, 2018 at 8:25 am

Gaia Guy is a registered user.

It won't be the GOP that protects our shoreline. As always with environments large and small, it will be the Dems, at the national, state and local levels. Especially in this case, it will be California AG Becerra, again.

At which point someone will pipe up - "but it was Nixon who created the EPA!" That's right - not even Nixon, much less Ike, could be a Republican today.

2 people like this
Posted by Amy C
a resident of another community
on Jan 18, 2018 at 12:00 pm

Why not introduce a bill instead? A resolution is meaningless. Even the CA State Legislature's own glossary states that a resolution is - "An opinion expressed by one or both houses which does not have the force of law. Concurrent and joint resolutions are voted on by both houses but do not require the Governor’s signature."

This issue is so much more important than we think. With climate change, our agricultural industry has already been negatively impacted. Recreational/tourist industry has been severely impacted as well. When I am up at Tahoe, shop owners tell me that they can barely survive with hardly any snow up there year after year. In the summer, Truckee's temperature gets to a staggering 100 degrees. Here in AD16, we worry about wildfires year-round. If we don't protect the CA coast, I can't imagine what our state will be like in another ten years.

Like this comment
Posted by Shari M
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Jan 18, 2018 at 12:40 pm

I'm tired of meaningless "Resolutions". Actions not words are needed globally, is we want human life to survive on this planet. The ratings Catharine Baker gets from environmental nonprofits are concerning.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Pleasanton's home-grown "unicorn"
By Tim Hunt | 3 comments | 1,269 views

Ten Tips for Teens and Young Adults to Survive a Dysfunctional Family
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 987 views

Can You Afford Your ‘Dream School’?
By Elizabeth LaScala | 2 comments | 405 views

Sanctuary Synesthesia
By John A. Barry and Bill Carmel | 1 comment | 138 views