Statement: In memoriam: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (1933-2023)

U.S. Senate, California, whole United States lose an environmental champion

SAN FRANCISCO — Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California passed away Thursday at the age of 90. During her time in the U.S. Senate, she championed numerous environmental causes including saving California’s unique desert habitats and the species, especially the desert tortoise, that call them home. In 1994, her advocacy led to the passage of the California Desert Protection Act which safeguarded 7 million acres and created the Death Valley National Park, Joshua Tree National Park and the Mojave National Preserve. She secured additional protections for California’s desert and rivers in the following years.

Sen. Feinstein was also a steadfast protector of the California coast. She was the lead sponsor of the West Coast Ocean Protection Act, which would permanently protect the California, Oregon and Washington coasts from offshore oil and gas drilling.

Laura Deehan, State Director of Environment California, said:

Dianne Feinstein was a fierce defender of California’s most beautiful open spaces, warding off threats from mining and drilling from the desert to the coastline. Her work resulted in the permanent protection of millions of acres of wild California, safeguarding wildlife from the desert tortoise to bighorn sheep. Her tenacity and decades of leadership will be deeply missed.”

Lisa Frank, executive director of Environment America’s Washington Legislative Office, said:

“Today is a sad day for all Americans who believe we shouldn’t risk our oceans for a few more drops of oil, and who cherish the great outdoors and the amazing species that live there. Sen. Feinstein was a long-time champion of these causes. She repeatedly turned her passion for conservation into action that bettered the lives of both people and wildlife. We will miss her dearly.”