65 House Democrats Band Together to Protect Marine Sanctuaries & Marine Monuments from Being Opened Up to Oil & Gas Development

Washington, D.C. – As the Trump administration is pushing to open up our oceans and coasts to unsafe oil and gas development, Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Vice Ranking Member Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) sent a letter to Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross today urging him to protect our unique ecosystems and cultural sites throughout U.S. waters. The Congressmen, along with 63 House Democratic colleagues, expressed their strong support for the 11 national marine sanctuaries and marine national monuments under review as part of Executive Order 13795, “Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy.”

The public comment period for the administration’s review of 11 marine national monuments closes July 26. It is being conducted separately from the ongoing review of 27 onshore national monuments across the country, and has received considerably less media scrutiny.

If the Trump administration reduces or eliminates marine sanctuaries and monuments, oil and gas development will expand into extremely sensitive areas and put our coastal communities at risk. The lawmakers state in their letter:

Protecting these unique ecosystems and cultural sites throughout U.S. waters exceeds any potential benefit of increased fossil fuel extraction. Coastal communities across the country benefit from marine sanctuaries and monuments, and it is vital for tourism, recreation, fisheries, wildlife, and cultural heritage that these treasures be preserved, rather than subjected to oil spills and damaging underwater noise. We urge Secretary Ross to maintain strong protections for each of the sites under review.

The full letter is available at http://bit.ly/2v51CAB.

“Our coastal economies depend on healthy oceans. Ask any of our local businesses, constituents, or visitors from around the country what they enjoy about the ocean - it’s not oil spills or seeing a rig on the horizon. They come to our national marine sanctuaries and monuments to enjoy these unique ecosystems and cultural sites. Any supposed benefits from fossil fuels are not worth jeopardizing these opportunities and the millions of dollars that are generated by protecting our oceans and coasts,” Huffman said.

“Despite what Donald Trump says, there is incredibly strong public support for national monuments whether they are on land or in the ocean,” Grijalva said. “These designations and expansions received considerable public input and this so-called review is simply another giveaway of our public places to the oil and gas industry. My colleagues and I aren’t fooled, and the American public won’t be either. These places are a part of our country’s natural heritage and should be protected for all to enjoy well into the future.”

The 11 designated or expanded sites include: Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Marianas Trench Marine National Monument, National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa, Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, Papah?naumoku?kea Marine National Monument, Rose Atoll Marine National Monument, and Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary. 

Press Contact

Diane Padilla (Grijalva), (202) 225-6065 or (202) 306-1333                                                  

Alexa Shaffer (Huffman), (202) 225-5161