As Brian noted, in the full list of the Governor’s slash and burn budget, the offshore drilling proposal in Tranquillon Ridge off the Santa Barbara coast remains. After a key environmental group backed away from the plan, which originally was structured as a compromise proposal to allow an additional rig in exchange for ending all drilling in the channel by 2022 (which the Lands Commission determined was unenforceable), many expected the plan to be scrapped. But it remains, despite the fact that the California Lands Commission spoke out yesterday, calling on the legislature to put a stop to this power grab.
The State Lands Commission on Monday lashed out at an attempt by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to allow the first new oil drilling in California waters since 1969.
Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, chairman of the three-member panel, called the governor’s effort “a naked power grab.” At a contentious hearing in Santa Monica, the commission passed a resolution urging legislators not to go along with the plan, which would revive a drilling proposal off the Santa Barbara County coast that the commission killed in January.
The Commission doesn’t out-and-out call this illegal. But they hold jurisdiction over oil drilling, and the Governor is simply trying to go over their heads. You can basically shut down the California Lands Commission if this goes through, because they will be rendered impotent.
And of course, while the Administration foregrounds the $2 billion dollars to be gained from allowing the leases in Tranquillon, he does not make a peep about charging an oil severance tax, to actually make the oil companies pay to take California’s natural resources out of the ground.