The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Kelsey Lamp, Environment America Research & Policy Center Protect our Oceans Campaign Director, (775) 397-5057, 
Laura Deehan, Environment California Research & Policy Center Director, (415) 420-4710, 
Josh Chetwynd, Deputy Director, Media Relations, (303) 573-5558,

Congressional Field Hearing in Orange County Shines Light on Recent Oil Spill's Devastating Impacts

Lawmakers gather important facts on recent offshore disaster.


The Congressional Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a joint field oversight hearing Monday in response to the recent oil spill in Orange County that devastated both wildlife and local coastal communities.

Just over two weeks ago, an oil pipeline off the coast of California ruptured, spilling about 25,000 gallons of crude oil into the Pacific Ocean. The accident created a 13-mile wide slick on the ocean's surface.

At the hearing, U.S. representatives called for an end to offshore oil drilling in California.

"When they drill, they will spill," said Rep. Mike Levin of California. "It can't be done without significant risk." Added Rep. Alan Lowenthal of California: "If we do not address the root causes of the oil spill ... we will simply be navigating from one tragedy to the next."

Experts at the hearing emphasized the far-reaching consequences of the spill for wildlife.

Oil can have "effects on every organ system in an animal's body," said Dr. Michael Ziccardi, director of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network. "Dolphins can be significantly impacted by oil, primarily through inhalation of the fumes upon surfacing."

Environment California Research & Policy Center is an affiliate of Environment America Research & Policy Center.

Environment California Research & Policy Center State Director Laura Deehan issued the following statement:

"We thank the members of Congress for holding this hearing. But we shouldn't need to have this conversation over and over again -- for decades. This recent oil spill in California is the latest example of the inevitable devastation that comes with offshore drilling. There is no safe way to drill off our coasts. Simply put, when we drill, we spill, and when we spill the results are disastrous."

Environment America Research & Policy Center Protect Our Oceans Campaign Director Kelsey Lamp issued the following statement:

"Offshore drilling is dirty, dangerous and doesn't belong in our oceans. As this hearing shows, our elected representatives, scientific and wildlife experts, and businesses and communities agree: It's time to end offshore oil drilling. We need to immediately stop the sale of new leases and permanently protect our coasts from offshore drilling."

With Environment America, you protect the places that all of us love and promote core environmental values, such as clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and clean energy to power our lives. We're a national network of 29 state environmental groups with members and supporters in every state. Together, we focus on timely, targeted action that wins tangible improvements in the quality of our environment and our lives.

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