Former Sonoma County Representative Lynn Woolsey initiated this legislation in 1998 and over the last sixteen-plus years both Senator Barbara Boxer and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi joined the effort. According to an article in SFGate, the protection includes a permanent ban on oil and gas drilling, discharges from cruise ships and other vessels, and any disturbance of the seabed by mining. The expansion will help to protect the region's marine and coastal habitats, biological resources and special ecological features.
Cordell Bank and Gulf of the Farallones national marine sanctuaries off northern California will both more than double in size. Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, located 42 miles north of San Francisco, will expand from 529 square miles to 1,286 square miles. Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary will expand from 1,282 square miles to 3,295 square miles of ocean and coastal waters.