California lawmakers are moving to halt offshore oil drilling on the heels of a major spill last month, amid Republican concerns the push could hurt jobs.
The state Senate last week approved a bill, sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Mike McGuire, that would ban any new oil drilling in state waters off the California coast.
In May, California experienced its largest oil spill in 25 years. According to McGuire’s office, more than 100,000 gallons of oil from offshore platforms spilled from a ruptured pipeline along Santa Barbara’s coast.
“In the wake of last month’s devastating oil spill, we cannot afford to wait any longer to permanently ban new oil drilling off our coast,” McGuire told Fox News.
But the push is already running into Republican criticism that a drilling ban would hurt the local economy.
"This bill, I think, sends the wrong message about oil and gas production in our state," Republican state Sen. Jeff Stone told the Los Angeles Times, warning the ban would cost the state jobs and revenue.
The bill was jointly sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Hannah Beth Jackson, who represents the area where the spill occurred. “The Refugio Oil Spill has been a dramatic wake-up call, reminding us how destructive and dirty oil can be,” Jackson said.
The bill was brought to the Senate floor as part of a package of legislative proposals meant to strengthen California’s effort to tackle global warming. The California Climate Leadership package was composed of 12 bills including new environmental and energy standards.
The bill has support from leading environmental organizations like the Sierra Club, Audubon of California, California League of Conservation Voters, the Center for Climate Protection, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The bill is now in committee in the California Assembly.
Fox News' Brooke Singman contributed to this report