New no-drilling ocean preserve off Sonoma coast pushed by California Democratic lawmakers

Paul Rogers of the San Jose Mercury-News is reporting that California lawmakers are quietly mounting a campaign to persuade President Barack Obama to protect a 50-mile stretch of California coast along Sonoma and Mendocino counties by the end of this month -- a move that would permanently ban offshore oil drilling there and create California's largest ocean preserve in 20 years.

The article notes that Representative Lynn Woolsey has tried to pass bills in Congress since 2004 with the same goal of limiting drilling off the coast. But her most recent effort, HR192, has been blocked by House Republican leaders who oppose new limits on oil and gas production. And Woolsey is retiring from Congress when the current session ends Jan. 3.

"This is one of the most pristine areas in the world," Woolsey said. "It isn't only the romantic part of it; it's about protecting fishing and tourism. Those industries depend on the coast."

You can read the complete Mercury-News article HERE.