Laguna Beach City Council opposes offshore oil drilling

Laguna Beach City Council opposes offshore oil drilling
The Laguna Beach City Council on Tuesday unanimously adopted a resolution that opposes new oil and gas drilling off California's coast. This 2010 photo shows an oil rig in the Catalina Channel. (David McNew / Getty Images)

The Laguna Beach City Council on Tuesday took a stand against new oil and gas drilling off the California coast by adopting a resolution that opposes the practice.

At the urging of representatives from organizations such as the Surfrider Foundation and Oceana, the council unanimously adopted a resolution that opposes oil and gas drilling in federal and state waters.

Mayor Toni Iseman suggested the council adopt the resolution in response to President Trump’s executive order that aims to expand offshore drilling for gas and oil. Trump issued the order in April.

"Increased domestic energy production on federal lands and waters strengthens the nation's security and reduces reliance on imported energy," the order said. "Moreover, low energy prices, driven by an increased American energy supply, will benefit American families and help reinvigorate American manufacturing and job growth."

Speakers decried such techniques as methods of the past that pose potential disastrous environmental effects, such as oil spills.

"Can we guarantee there would never be an oil spill or a catastrophic blowout like the [2010] Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf [of Mexico]?" Laguna Beach resident Sara Lowell said in speaking of questions she would ask Trump. "Can they guarantee that new offshore drilling could never impact Laguna Beach's robust tourism economy and our coastal way of life?

"[The resolution] furthers our commitment to addressing climate change by rejecting the antiquated notion that expanding and investing in fossil fuel extraction is in our nation's best interest."

Trump's executive order promotes a stronger dependence on fossil fuels, which goes against city and state action to promote a greener, more sustainable lifestyle through alternative energy sources that result in cleaner air and greater protection of natural resources, a city staff report said.

There have been no new oil and gas leases in California since 1969, according to the state legislature's website.

That year, 3 million gallons of crude oil spilled into the waters off Santa Barbara, creating a 35-mile-long oil slick that killed thousands of birds, fish and sea mammals.

Councilman Steve Dicterow said he remembered one of his textbooks in college in 1976 containing information about alternative energy sources, such as solar and wind power.

"Instead of trying to do more drilling off the coast, why haven't we done what we did with the Manhattan Project and what we did with the man-to-the-moon project?" Dicterow said. "We put all these national resources into developing nuclear weapons and all this energy into a space program that yielded technologies that make our lives better. Why have we not done something like that for energy?"

Iseman said the next step is to get other cities on board with the resolution.

"I'm really glad you're here," Iseman said. "Your words were so powerful. It's very heartening to know the power of the individual and the power of your focus."

The resolution will be sent to Laguna's state and federal representatives.

Twitter: @AldertonBryce