Schwarzenegger changes his mind on offshore drilling

May 4, 2010

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger backed away from comments his staff made over the weekend and reversed his position on offshore oil drilling. Citing the extreme environmental damage being caused in the Gulf Coast by the British Petroleum spill, Schwarzenegger announced Monday that he is pulling all proposed new drilling off the Santa Barbara coast from his budget. [Los Angeles Times]

The governor had long championed the controversial Tranquillon Ridge project, off the coast of Santa Barbara, arguing that drilling could generate $140 million for the state budget. However, the project had stalled after opposition from both the state Lands Commission and Sacramento lawmakers.

“My support for the T-Ridge project here in California was based on numerous studies and making me feel it was safe to drill,” Schwarzenegger said. “I see on TV the birds drenched in oil, the fishermen out of work,  the massive oil spill, oil slick destroying our precious ecosystem. It will not happen here in California.”

The governor went on to say that the risk of an enormous disaster is “just much greater than the money is worth.”