How California dodged new offshore oil plan
April 1, 2010
Political will–and strong environmental opposition–seems to explain how California and some other states are being excluded from President Obama’s new plans to increase offshore oil drilling. [California Watch]
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told reporters that “the strategy does not include oil and gas activity off North Atlantic or West Coast states because opposition there was too great.”
Obama’s plan, announced this week, calls for development of oil and gas resources in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, the Arctic Ocean, and the Mid Atlantic Ocean. States like Virginia are strongly in favor of developing its offshore resources.
But apparently not California. “California is a place where you have the entire Pacific Coast, including governors and senators opposed to any kind of offshore drilling,” said Salazar.
Rep. Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara), whose district includes much of San Luis Obispo County, praised Obama’s decision, calling it “a victory for California and for all of us on the south and central coasts who have been fighting to keep our coastline safe from new oil drilling.”
Obama’s plan essentially continues the moratorium on new drilling from federal leases off California that has been in place since 1991. However, the proposal does not affect state leases and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger continues to push for new drilling off the coast of Santa Barbara at Tranquillon Ridge.
The state Assembly let the governor’s proposal die last year in session.