Assault on North Coast
Mendocino Greens launch Pacific Ocean Sanctuary
drive to protect coast from military, business interests
By Dan Hamburg
MENDOCINO - The Green Party of Mendocino County has launched the Pacific
Coast Ocean Sanctuary Petition, a direct appeal to President Obama to
leave our coast alone and to work with Congress to promulgate Ocean Sanctuary
will permanently protect coastal areas off California, Oregon and Washington.
The effort is needed because greedy eyes are turned to the northern California,
Oregon and Washington coastlines as the next area for militarization and commercial
At the end of March, 100 protesters greeted the U.S. Navy in Ukiah when it
presented a plan to augment naval weapons and sonar training from Puget Sound
south to Mendocino County.
Navy representatives listened to nearly four hours of testimony from county
residents who maintain that protection of marine species and the overall health
of the ocean are of paramount importance.
The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors voted 4 to 1 to address a letter
opposing the Navy's encroachment for distribution throughout the Pacific Northwest.
The BOS also made clear that they will stand with a score of environmental
organizations in the event of a lawsuit intended to stifle the Navy's plan.
And, in April, hundreds gathered in San Francisco to give President Obama's
new Interior Secretary, former Colorado Senator Ken Salazar, a piece of their
collective mind on proposed Lease Sale 236.
An array of state and US representatives, along with Senator Barbara Boxer
and a representative from Governor Schwarzenegger's office, made clear that
any plans to drill for oil and gas along the California coast will be strenuously
What was most strange about the San Francisco hearing was that it occurred
in the first place. It was made necessary by congressional Democrats' abandonment
of a 27-year old annual moratorium on new offshore oil leases, and by then-candidate
Obama's pledge to "compromise" with the oil industry on new domestic
offshore drilling if they would support renewables.
This despite the fact that energy economists believe that the total amount
of offshore oil produced from new leases would have no measurable impact on
Secretary Salazar and the administration want to pursue wave hydrokinetic
energy development off the coast.
Rather than have the government sponsor the R&D that must precede commercialization,
the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) wants private companies like
PG&E, Chevron, Finavera and other developers to try out new technologies.
This seems a fool's errand.
Technical data necessary to intelligently design these mammoth installations
are unknown and will require decades of pilot level study.
Also, their impacts
upon the marine environment are unknown but certainly include: the effect
upon migration patterns of marine mammals, their interference with the fishing
changes they could make to the upwelling of nutrients that feed marine mammals,
shifting seashore erosion patters, and much more.
The Mendocino Greens are asking
Greens up and down the coast to download, sign, have your local endorse, and
circulate the Pacific
Coast Ocean Sanctuary Petition.
(Note: The author is a longtime Green, former
Congressman (1992-94), former county supervisor and the Green Party of California's
candidate for Governor in 1998)