Assemblywoman Luz Rivas Introduces the California Seabed Mining Prevention Act to Protect Our Oceans from Deep Sea Mining

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – Today, Assemblywoman Luz Rivas (D-San Fernando Valley), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources, introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 1832, known as the California Seabed Mining Prevention Act, at a virtual rally alongside the bill’s co-sponsors, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Surfrider Foundation, along with dozens of supporters. The bill is co-authored by Assemblymember Mark Stone and Senators Ben Allen, John Laird, and Monique Limón. The California Seabed Mining Prevention Act prohibits seabed mining in state waters to preserve our delicate marine ecosystem, as well as its ocean recreation, tourism, and fishing industries that are valued at more than $27 billion annually.

“As Chair of the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources, I recognize the urgent need to protect one of our state’s critical economic engines and most precious natural resource: our oceans,” said Assemblywoman Luz Rivas. “Our oceans support and preserve life on our planet and we cannot afford to leave our deep-sea floors vulnerable to exploitation and destruction. With the California Seabed Mining Prevention Act, we can take swift action to prevent the devastation that seabed mining would inflict upon our delicate marine ecosystems and our coastal economies.”

The California Seabed Mining Prevention Act would proactively protect 2,500 square miles of our seafloor and connected habitat. Our oceans and marine wildlife already face existential threats due to industrialization, plastics, climate change, and ocean acidification. Seabed mining is an emerging industry that, if not prevented, would cause significant devastation to our seafloor.

“California’s living resources are unparalleled and so vital to our wellbeing. The state has for decades led the way in environmental protection,” said Julie Packard, Executive Director of Monterey Bay Aquarium. “Monterey Bay Aquarium applauds Assemblymember Luz Rivas for her leadership in protecting California’s ocean waters from the impacts of seabed mining.”

California’s marine waters house major global ecosystems that depend on protected deep-sea habitats. Deep-sea mining would have severe impacts on oceanic ecosystems, including the direct destruction of living marine habitats like corals and sponges. Other dangers arise from the effects of seabed mining including light pollution, loss of biodiversity, and smothering or toxicity from sediment plumes.

“Surfrider is inspired to be part of this important effort to protect our deep sea," said Surfrider Foundation CEO Dr. Chad Nelsen. “We learn every day just how important and interconnected all of our ocean ecosystems are. To enjoy a healthy ocean means to protect all parts of it, including the deep sea. We are excited to take this proactive step to protect such a unique ecosystem."

Governments, native tribes, scientists, and communities from around the world have called for a global moratorium on seabed mining. As of September 2021, 81 governments and governmental agencies voted in favor of a seabed mining moratorium. Additionally, Oregon and the state of Washington have already passed legislation banning seabed mining in their state waters. California must take preventative action now as the extraction industry grows and further identifies minable resources underwater.

The California Seabed Mining Prevention Act is co-sponsored by the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Surfrider Foundation and is supported by over a dozen organizations including Beach Ecology Coalition, Benioff Ocean Initiative, Bolsa Chica Land Trust, California Institute for Biodiversity, Californians Against Waste, Clean Water Action, Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, Defenders of Wildlife, The Last Plastic Straw/Plastic Pollution Coalition, Marine Conservation Institute, Ocean Elders, Oceanic Preservation Society, REV Ocean, Sustainable Ocean Alliance, The Nature Conservancy, and The Nature Conservation Society of Japan.

Assemblywoman Luz Rivas proudly represents the 39th Assembly District, which includes the City of Los Angeles communities of Arleta, Lake View Terrace, Granada Hills, Mission Hills, North Hollywood, Pacoima, Sun Valley, Sunland-Tujunga, Sylmar, and the City of San Fernando.