An offshore oil rig.
PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP via Getty Images
Congress members in the western US say they want to ban offshore oil exploration.
The West Coast Ocean Protection Act would prohibit new oil and gas drilling.
A spill this month dumped more than 126,000 gallons of crude oil into the Pacific Ocean.
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Democratic senators from California and the Pacific Northwest are calling for a total ban on all new fossil fuel drilling off the West Coast.
In a letter sent Wednesday to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, who chairs the Senate energy committee, the lawmakers call for using the budget reconciliation process to prohibit the federal government from leasing any more land for oil and gas exploration or production in the Pacific Ocean.
A similar prohibition was included in the reconciliation bill approved by the House Natural Resources Committee.
„Budget reconciliation provides us with an opportunity to construct the energy policy of the future and avoid the worst impacts of climate change,” states the letter, signed by California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla, Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell, and Oregon’s Ron Wyden and Jeffrey Merkley.
The demand comes days after a pipeline leak off the coast of Southern California saw more than 126,000 gallons of crude oil dumped into the Pacific, devastating wildlife and leading Gov. Gavin Newsom to declare a state of emergency.
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