SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Democratic lawmakers at the state and federal levels are calling for more accountability and an end to offshore drilling contracts in California.
With clean-up, beach closures and an investigation underway, state leaders are concerned about the potential effects of the large oil spill off the coast of Orange County.
“I was shocked to see our beaches, our beautiful beaches empty,” said state Sen. Dave Min, D-Irvine.
Min took an aerial tour of the spill Tuesday. He noted the immediate concerns include beach cleaning and protecting ecologically-sensitive areas. The economy of the area is a long-term concern.
“I think we feel like enough is enough. We’ve had too many of these types of oil spills and the amount of oil we get out of these offshore drills is not that much as a percentage of California supply, certainly not as a percentage of the global supply,” Min said. “Getting rid of those will have negligible impacts on oil prices, but we see the risks that they pose to our local economies, to our beautiful ecosystems.”
Min said his office is working to see if the Legislature can take a similar step.
On Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency, and on Tuesday, he echoed calls to ban offshore drilling.
“It’s time once and for all to disabuse ourselves that this has to be part of our future — This is part of our past,” Newsom said.
Former recall replacement candidate and Southern California resident Larry Elder weighed in on the situation.
“They’re going to be using this as an excuse to argue that we not ought to be dependent on fossil fuels, when in fact they’re cheaper right now, they’re more reliable. And we should do a better job and figure out what went wrong, just like when there is a plane crash to figure out what went wrong to make sure it doesn’t happen again. That’s, to me, what the sensible common-sense response should be, not an emotional one,” Elder said.
Lawmakers said they are determined to hold whomever ends up being responsible for the spill accountable.