Helen’s LTE on Offshore Oil Drilling


Thank you for the recent op-ed, “Expanded offshore drilling terrible for state,” from Supervisors Don Horsley and David Canepa (in the Jan. 24 edition of the Daily Journal) on the county ban on all offshore oil and gas drilling, fracking and other well stimulation in federal and state waters off of San Mateo County waters. Kudos to the Board of Supervisors for their unanimous vote supporting this ban.

When San Mateo County voters passed the Coastside Protection Act in 1986 by a 62 percent margin, the voters knew that oil drilling would degrade the beaches, marine habitats and coastal marshes. Voters showed their support for our glorious coast by voting to maintain its pristine nature.

In 1989, three years later, the Exxon Valdez hit a reef in Alaska; the oil spill damage has been irreparable. According to CNN, almost 30 years after the Alaska spill, only 13 of 32 affected wildlife populations and habitats monitored by the government were listed as “fully recovered” or “very likely recovered.” Some populations are now listed as “not recovering,” including a pod of killer whales that lost 15 of its 22 members following the spill and is expected to die off completely in coming years.

I appreciate the county’s Board of Supervisors voting to ensure that such environmental degradation does not occur on our coast. The federal government should eliminate the California coast from consideration for offshore oil drilling. The economic importance of our coastal fisheries, recreation and tourism, and the viability of renewable energy sources cannot be risked for short-term gain.

Helen Wolter
Committee for Green Foothills’ Legislative Advocate

This letter was published in the San Mateo Daily Journal on February 6, 2018. For the full letter online, please see: https://www.smdailyjournal.com/opinion/letters_to_editor/offshore-oil-drilling/article_bd92a566-0adc-11e8-9f38-8f9c99ababf5.html

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