Statement: Congressional field hearing in Orange County shines light on recent oil spill’s devastating impacts

Media Contacts
Kelsey Lamp

Director, Protect Our Oceans Campaign, Environment America Research & Policy Center

Lawmakers gather important facts on recent offshore disaster

Environment America

ORANGE COUNTY — 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 sales of new leases and permanently protect our coasts from offshore drilling.”


Environment America Research & Policy Center is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces. We work to protect the places we love, advance the environmental values we share, and win real results for our environment.

Environment California Research & Policy Center works for clean air, clean water, clean energy, wildlife and open spaces, and a livable climate. Our members across the state put grassroots support behind our research and advocacy. 

Environment America Research & Policy Center and Environment California Research & Policy Center are part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to social change.