President Donald Trump signed an executive order in April that would make 11 marine sanctuaries smaller than they are today as the administration studies off shore areas for oil and gas exploration. Four of those sanctuaries are in California.
- The greater Farallones sanctuary, which runs from Marin to Mendocino counties;
- The Cordell Bank marine sanctuary off Marin and Sonoma counties;
- The Monterey Bay marine sanctuary;
- And the Channel Islands marine sanctuary off the coasts of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.
California’s two senators have called on officials to preserve the current boundaries. They say protecting the sanctuaries is vital to the state's natural heritage. Trump's team says the oil and gas would make America more energy independent.
On April 28, President Trump signed an executive order requiring U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to review any actions taken since 2007 that expanded existing national marine sanctuaries or monuments or established new ones, and to report back to the White House in October.
“Today we are unleashing American energy and clearing the way for thousands and thousands of high-paying American energy jobs,” Trump said then at a White House ceremony.
The public is invited to comment on the order until July 26. More on the America-First Offshore Energy Strategy can be found here.
As a response to the executive order, environmentalists have asked opponents to file comments at saveourmarinesanctuaries.org.