April 18, 2014

President acts to expand marine sanctuaries

High wind on the Mendocino coast. Photo: Flickr / ah zut (cc)

High wind on the Mendocino coast. Photo: Flickr / ah zut (cc)

A big step has been taken to protect the Sonoma/Mendocino Coast from oil and gas drilling. The White House has instructed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to take the steps necessary to expand two national marine sanctuaries to include this area.

Today, the White House announced that President Obama would take action to add nearly 3,000 square miles to the Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries. This designation, covering a stretch along the Sonoma and Mendocino coasts, will protect this biologically rich area from offshore oil and gas drilling and allow for public uses, such as fishing. Sierra Club California has been working to protect this area for many years.

Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune said, “For decades, oil companies have threatened to expand their destructive drilling activities into sensitive coastal areas where fish and other wildlife thrive. Today’s action puts one of the most ecologically important and sensitive coastal areas out of harm’s way. Now it’s safe, thanks to the efforts of Rep. Lynn Woolsey, Sen. Barbara Boxer, and the president. These actions are encouraging signs that President Obama will continue to protect and preserve America’s wild places during his second term.”

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