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Mayors to appear to address offshore drilling concerns

REGION — A coalition of mayors is scheduled to speak out against the Trump administration’s plans to expand offshore oil and gas exploration off of California’s coastline — including a mayor whose city rejected a resolution on the topic in February.

San Marcos Mayor Rebecca Jones said in February that while she didn’t think the council should be taking positions on issues that didn’t directly impact the city, she personally opposed the proposed expansion and would attend a news conference opposing it. 

Jones is one of the mayors who will appear at the news conference, which is being organized by the environmental advocacy group Oceana, scheduled for 9 a.m. April 15 at Moonlight Beach. 

“I expressed my commitment the night of the council meeting and I do what I say I’m going to do,” Jones said in an email. “I think it shows that I’m sincere.”

Brady Bradshaw, who represents Oceana, said Jones’ appearance underscores the “united front” that the opposition has that crosses political and ideological boundaries. 

“It’s great to see that Mayor Jones is not only coming to the press conference, she is looking forward to it and is inviting other mayors to attend as well,” Bradshaw said. “It’s important for her that a united front is demonstrated here.”

Jones, a Republican, is one of several Republican mayors and local officials scheduled to attend. Former San Marcos Mayor and current Dist. 5 Supervisor Jim Desmond, Dist. 3 Supervisor Kristin Gaspar, Oceanside Mayor Peter Weiss and El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells are also confirmed attendees, joining Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear, Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina, Del Mar Mayor David Druker and Solana Beach Deputy Mayor Jewel Edson at the event. 

Each of the representatives will speak for one to two minutes about what actions North County cities have taken to oppose the plan, and the dangers of new offshore drilling to the region’s coastal economy and environment.

“The offshore drilling opposition here is so strong and from every angle, both Republicans and Democrats and from across the county,” Bradshaw said. “There is no question that San Diego County is overwhelmingly opposed to the drilling plan. It’s just a question of whether the Trump administration will listen to the overwhelming opposition that exists in Southern California.”

The Trump administration recently moved to limit the scope of states’ review powers and shorten the period of time to process an appeal under the decades-old Coastal Zone Management Act.

Environmental activists and opponents of the drilling plan have argued that this is a direct attempt by the president to limit the state’s ability to challenge the proposed expansion.

Bradshaw said he believes the action will backfire, as it will bring more Republicans — who are traditionally champions of states’ rights — into the fold. 

“That is something that will continue to unify and strengthen opposition in California, because this is an attack on states’ rights,” Bradshaw said. 

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