Assemblywoman Luz Rivas’ Legislation to Prevent Seabed Mining Signed by Governor

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – Today, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1832, the California Seabed Mining Prevention Act, authored by Assemblywoman Luz Rivas (D–San Fernando Valley). AB 1832 safeguards more than 2,500 square miles of the state’s seafloor by protecting not only marine life, but tourism, ocean recreation, and fishing industries that contribute over $27 billion annually to our economy. With today’s action, California joins Oregon and Washington to create a west coast coalition of states committed to protecting its ocean life from environmentally devastating seabed mining practices.

“Our environment has suffered from decades of reactionary policy. We don’t need to wait for another disaster to occur when we can take steps to prevent it from happening in the first place, and that is exactly what my legislation does. Our oceans and marine wildlife face existential threats due to industrialization, plastics, climate change, and ocean acidification. Deep sea mining would have severe implications on our marine ecosystem,” stated Assemblywoman Luz Rivas. “Thanks to the advocacy of our cosponsors, including our incredible Lieutenant Governor Kounalakis, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Surfrider Foundation, California stands out as a leader and is showing the nation and world the importance of protecting our oceans in the hopes others will follow our lead.”

“As a proud co-sponsor and a member of the State Lands Commission, I am so thankful that Governor Newsom signed AB 1832. Thank you, Assemblywoman Luz Rivas for your leadership and to all of the sponsors for championing the California Seabed Mining Act. The Governor sent a clear message that the health of our oceans must be protected, and that cannot be done without preserving the sea floor,” stated Lieutenant Governor Elenis Kounalakis.

“California’s living ocean resources are unparalleled and so vital to our well-being. For decades, the state has led the way in environmental protection. By enacting this forward-looking legislation, we are again demonstrating California’s commitment to protecting ocean health. All of us at Monterey Bay Aquarium are deeply grateful for Assemblywoman Luz Rivas’ leadership, the unanimous and bipartisan support of the Legislature, and for Governor Newsom signing this bill into law. We urge other governments to follow the West Coast’s example. The Aquarium supports a global moratorium on seabed mining until we can better understand and mitigate the damage that seabed mining could cause to ocean life and ecosystems,” stated Julie Packard, Executive Director of Monterey Bay Aquarium.

"The Seabed Mining Prevention Act is a forward-thinking bill that will protect California’s interconnected coastal and ocean environment, the associated recreation and tourism economy, and the culture and economic well-being of our state. Surfrider greatly appreciates Asm. Luz Rivas' leadership on this important legislation and is thrilled to see the bill become law," said Dr. Chad Nelsen, CEO, Surfrider Foundation.

“The Pacific Ocean is vital to sustain healthy communities of people and birds along the Pacific Flyway. We applaud California leaders for joining Oregon and Washington in banning seabed mining and expanding protection along the West Coast. The unanimous support of the Legislature shows their dedication to protecting this important marine ecosystem,” stated Liliana Griego, Senior Coastal Program Manager of Audubon California.

“Our ocean’s are this planet’s final frontier of discovery. They are ancient and vast, an inspiring mystery and a powerful solution to the countless mistakes that we humans inflict on our home. But despite their power to heal our self-inflicted wounds, they are also delicate and all-too-easily harmed. Seafloor mining is devastation scaled, an activity which can in a decade wreak centuries of injury to systems that may literally never heal. Our hunger for minerals is not so great that the time has come to wreck the mother oceans that sustain us. We need them, and we need to ban this grievous pillaging before it begins. Thank you Asm. Rivas for leading this enlightened effort, and thank you Governor Newsom for acting decisively to protect California’s waters, and inspire the world to do the same,” said Daniel Gluesenkamp, PhD at California Institute for Biodiversity.

“As a Chef the fragile oceanic ecosystem is of great importance. The future is grim unless we act now to put our Oceans Health in the forefront of legislation. Thank you Governor for this important step in eliminating Seabed Mining and protecting California's Ocean Floor and Biodiversity,” said Ricardo Heredia, Executive Chef of Coco Maya, KM Consulting, and Barrio Bird.

"California hosts an amazing world of biodiversity off its coast. Too often we are reactionary, but with the California Seabed Mining Prevention Act, we are acting in a precautionary way, protecting our valuable underwater ecosystem. California's coast is home to 124 Marine Protected Areas and 5 National Marine Sanctuaries. This bill will help protect our deep-sea environment and the amazing life that depends on it. Thank you to our partners and to Governor Newsom for taking action to protect our incredibly biodiverse seafloor, providing an underwater wall of protection on the West Coast,” stated Ashley Eagle-Gibbs, Legal and Policy Director of the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin.

“Healthy oceans rely on a healthy seafloor and the California Seabed Mining Prevention Act provides assurances that fragile deep-sea habitats will be safeguarded from destructive hard mineral extraction. California boasts some of the most diverse and productive living seafloor habitats — including coral gardens, sponge beds, and rocky reefs — that are the nurseries and shelter for dozens of recreationally and commercially important fish, and havens for biodiversity. If destroyed, these habitats could take hundreds or thousands of years to recover, if ever. We thank Governor Newsom for standing up for the deep sea and we encourage similar precautionary protections throughout the world’s oceans,” said Dr. Geoff Shester, California Campaign Director and Senior Scientist at Oceana.

“As climate change, ocean acidification, increasing industrialization, and other stressors threaten ocean ecosystems, it is encouraging that we can now proactively eliminate seabed mining from the long list of anthropogenic threats imperiling marine life in California. Today we celebrate the protection of California’s incredible natural heritage by preventing this destructive practice in state waters,” stated Courtney Vail, Campaign Director at Oceanic Preservation Society.

“SeaWorld San Diego rescues hundreds of marine mammals, sea and shore birds, and sea turtles each year from the Southern California coastline. We know just how delicate our ocean environment is and ensuring California waters will not be used for seabed mining provides some much-needed protection for this imperiled ecosystem,” said Eric Otjen, Vice President of Zoological Operations at SeaWorld San Diego.

The California Seabed Mining and Prevention Act is co-sponsored by Lieutenant Governor Elenis Kounalakis, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Surfrider Foundation; and received bi-partisan support from the Legislature.

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.