Ocean / Coastal Protection

 

California has long been on the forefront of ocean and coastal management and continues to lead important initiatives such as marine protected areas, water quality, the management of fisheries, shoreline erosion, and coastal development. California’s stretch of the Pacific Ocean and the state’s coastline support diverse species of wildlife, many kinds of industries, and numerous thriving coastal communities. The ocean and coast provide many opportunities for recreation as well as services that are valuable to the state’s economy and its residents’ quality of life. A recent study by the National Ocean Economics Program valued California’s “ocean economy” at $43 billion. This ocean economy supports California’s tourism industry, commercial fishing industry, and other industries. Moreover, California’s 1,100 miles of coastline are the envy of the United States and the world. The state legislature acknowledged the important contributions of ocean and coastal resources in the first legislative finding of the California Ocean Protection Act: “California’s coastal and ocean resources are critical to the State’s environmental and economic security, and integral to the State’s high quality of life and culture.”

But our ocean and coastline are in trouble. The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and the Pew Oceans Commission among others have identified an emerging national crisis situation regarding the country’s ocean and coastal resources. In September 2006 the governors of California, Oregon and Washington announced the West Coast Governors’ Agreement on Ocean Health, which launched a regional collaboration to protect and manage the ocean and coastal resources along the entire West Coast (as called for in the recommendations of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and the Pew Oceans Commission). The agreement seeks to advance the goals of clean coastal waters and beaches, healthy ocean and coastal habitats, effective ecosystem-based management, reduced impacts of offshore development, expanded ocean and coastal scientific information, research, and monitoring, and sustainable economic development of coastal communities

Example of action to protect the oceans/coastline: In 2004 former Governor Schwarzenegger announced an “Ocean Action Plan” that included signing into law the California Ocean Policy Act (SB 1319, Burton). The Act established a California Ocean Protection Council to guide ocean policy and coastal protection, streamlining and consolidating oversight of California's ocean resources under one coordinating body. The Act ensures that the oceans are managed as a public trust, as the state's ocean resources belong to all Californians, who are willing to share the responsibility of protecting them. It also shifted the focus from individual species to the protection of marine ecosystems, promotes the use of sound science and sound ocean protection policies, facilitates the designation of marine reserves, conservation areas, and parks, and authorized the use of existing funds for these purposes.

Example of action that threatens oceans/coastline: During the 2009 battle over the state’s multi-billion-dollar budget shortfall, Schwarzenegger and many in the state legislature proposed ending the state’s 40-year moratorium on offshore oil drilling to allow an oil company to drill off the coast of Santa Barbara. The proposal was narrowly defeated, and enthusiasm for the proposal has been further dampened by the catastrophic BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. However, environmentalists must remain vigilant and will work to defeat any renewed attempts to allow offshore oil drilling, particularly as the state's legislative leaders seek new revenue sources.

It was a catastrophic oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara that helped spark the modern-day environmental movement in the 1960's. Since April 2010, BP's disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has helped conservation voters make the case to their elected representatives against new offshore oil drilling in the Golden State.  Test your knowledge about oil spills.

Ocean / Coastal Protection Votes

Year Bill # Description Assembly Senate Governor
2015 SB 788 California Coastal Protection Act of 2015
No Action
No Action
Good
Good
No Action
No Action
2015 AB 888 Removing ugly plastics from beauty products (2015)
Good
Good
Good
Good
Good
Good
2014 SB 968 Beach access for all
Good
Good
Good
Good
Good
Good
2014 SB 1096 Oil & gas coastal sanctuaries (2014)
Bad
Bad
No Action
No Action
No Action
No Action
2013 AB 976 Enforcing the Coastal Act
Bad
Bad
Good
Good
No Action
No Action
2013 SB 405 Phasing out plastic bags
No Action
No Action
Bad
Bad
No Action
No Action
2013 SB 461 Coastal oil revenue
No Action
No Action
Good
Good
No Action
No Action
2012 SB 1066 Mitigating costs for the coast from climate change
Good
Good
Good
Good
Good
Good
2012 SB 568 Short-term convenience, long-term pollution
Bad
Bad
No Action
No Action
No Action
No Action
2011 AB 376 Cutting off the market for a cruel practice
Good
Good
Good
Good
Good
Good
2011 AB 1112 An ounce of prevention
Good
Good
Good
Good
Good
Good
2011 SB 568 Styrofoam's short-term convenience, long-term impact
No Action
No Action
Good
Good
No Action
No Action
2010 AB 234 To boom, or not to boom?
Good
Good
Good
Good
Bad
Bad
2010 AB 2329 The green team
Good
Good
Bad
Bad
No Action
No Action
2010 AB 1998 Sacking the bag
Good
Good
Bad
Bad
No Action
No Action
2010 AB 2376 A blue ribbon strategy
Good
Good
Good
Good
Good
Good
2009 AB 226 Coastal Commission: still hamstrung
Good
Good
No Action
No Action
No Action
No Action
2008 AB 1991 When is the coast not in the coastal zone?
Bad
Bad
No Action
No Action
No Action
No Action
2008 AB 2911 Upgrading our oil spill response
Good
Good
Good
Good
Good
Good
2008 SB 1582 Ocean rangers
No Action
No Action
Good
Good
No Action
No Action
 
 
 

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