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Diver swims by underwater oil rig surrounded by fish - popup
Ken Kurtis

Sylvia Earle, Mark Gold, and Betty Yee

The Aquarium will host an evening keynote presentation to kick off a forum on the future of decommissioned oil rigs off the coast of California. Three leaders in ocean conservation and management will discuss their perspectives on California’s unique relationship with the ocean and what we can do to ensure a healthy ocean in the future, and one that benefits society economically.

California’s offshore oil platforms have been in places for many decades, but they will reach the end of their operational lifespans within the next fifteen years. Federal and state agencies face several questions as they decide how to proceed with decommissioning, as the platforms have formed rich biological communities underwater.

Famed oceanographer and explorer Dr. Sylvia Earle, California State Controller Betty Yee, and Ocean Protection Council Executive Director Mark Gold will present three perspectives to open the forum, which will be held over the following two days.


Dr. Earle is president and chairman of Mission Blue/The Sylvia Earle Alliance, a National Geographic Society Explorer in Residence, and was the first female chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

In addition to his position with the Ocean Protection Council, Gold is the deputy secretary for Ocean and Coastal Policy for the California Natural Resources Agency.

Betty Yee

Yee was elected State Controller in 2014 after serving two terms on the California Board of Equalization and is a commissioner with the State Lands Commission.