California Ocean Sanctuaries to be Doubled

Posted: December 20, 2012  |  By: Peter Fimrite [SFGate]

President Obama is poised to protect 2,093 square nautical miles of ocean habitat off the coast of Sonoma and Mendocino counties, a move that would more than double the area covered by two national sanctuaries off the West Coast and permanently ban offshore oil drilling there.

The decision, expected Thursday, would create an enormous preserve stretching some 50 miles along the California coast and extending some 30 miles out to sea. It would also fulfill the long-held dream of Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, who has tried repeatedly since 2004 to pass legislation protecting the coastal ecosystem.

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