President Barack Obama signed an executive order Thursday that will permanently ban oil drilling off the Northern California coast by expanding the Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries.
The president’s order set into motion 18 to 24 months of hearings and reviews by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It also sidesteps a Republican-controlled House of Representatives that had thwarted efforts to protect thousands of square miles of the Pacific Ocean from Bodega Bay to Mendocino.
Congressman Sam Farr (D-Monterey) described the area as a “Yosemite of the Sea,” saying it is the culmination of years of work by Bay Area members of Congress.
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