Tag Archives: offshore drilling

CA-02: WHERE’S WALLY on deep-water drilling NOW?


Wally Herger, CA-02, just prevailed in his primary against a teabagger, but will he survive this fall against Democratic candidate Jim Reed, who is far more in touch with the beliefs of his California constituents when it comes to drilling and environmental issues?

You might think a Republican would reconsider the safety of deep water drilling after the endless eruption of the oil volcano in the Gulf.

You would be wrong.  Herger still maintains that with our superior 21st Century technology we can drill-baby-drill with no harm to the environment.

Those of us in the reality-based community, including Jim Reed, see it differently.

(But wait!  There’s more…..)

From Herger’s Website: (emphasis mine)

I’ve long supported efforts to allow for the exploration of oil and natural gas in a small section of the frozen “ANWR” tundra in Alaska.  ANWR spans nearly 20 million acres, but energy exploration would only occur on 2,000 acres, or .01 percent of the land area.  And importantly, 21st Century technology would also allow us to recover energy resources without harming the environment.

Wondering If Herger might have updated his files on that amazing 21st Century technology keeping us safe story, I spoke with Herger’s Chico office where his representative got back to me and confirmed that yes, Herger IS still in favor of deep water drilling.

At least he’s consistent. Why bother to re-think a position in the face of compelling new evidence when it’s so much easier to just rubber-stamp your party line, even when failing to think for yourself can cause irreparable harm to your own constituents?

While Herger gives pleasant lip-service to alternative and clean energies on his website, his voting record shows where his heart truly is– with the oil companies. Votes on energy:

Voted NO on tax incentives for energy production and conservation.(May 2008)

Voted NO on tax incentives for renewable energy. (Feb 2008)

Voted NO on investing in homegrown bio-fuel. (Aug 2007)

Voted YES on criminalizing oil cartels like OPEC. (May 2007)

Voted NO on removing oil & gas exploration subsidies. (Jan 2007)

Voted NO on keeping moratorium on drilling for oil offshore. (Jun 2006)

Voted YES on scheduling permitting for new oil refineries. (Jun 2006)

Voted YES on authorizing construction of new oil refineries. (Oct 2005)

Jim Reed in the Comments section of his introductory diary at Daily Kos stated:

I am against any expansion of off shore drilling and the gulf accident just proves there will be human error with disaster to follow.

Cheers to Jim Reed be his willingness to dive into a notoriously thorny political site like the Daily Kos and to stick around to answer all questions for the next two hours.  Check out Reed’s diary for an impressive example of an intelligent, decent, open-minded approach to differences of opinion.

Where's Wally John's Why “Where’s Wally”?

In this 30 minute interview with Jim Swanson of Progressive News Radio Jim Reed makes a convincing case for how Wally Herger has become an increasingly lazy and ineffective legislator.  In 24 years in office Herger has only sponsored one piece of legislation where teamed up with Diana Feinstein.  He’s voted with the Republican party 94% of the time, and some of those times appeared to be errors on his part.

As Jim Swanson of Progressive News Radio comments,

A Republican with a horrible voting record, even for topics that matter for his constituency. He does hold the honor of being in the top ten percentile of the worst Congressional Representatives in the United States government. As he no doubt sits at his desk in Washington, D.C., doodling on paper, reading the latest edition of “Field and Stream” and waiting for House Minority leader John Boehner to phone Wally’s office and tell him how to vote, the time has plainly come to send Wally home to retirement.

As a personal anecdote, I and many other of Herger’s constituents have written lengthy letters in support of HCR and energy independence, only to get “Thank you for support!” form letters in reply.  Apparently even his staff doesn’t bother to read his mail.

As we know, ousting Herger will take some money. As Gail Collins wrote in The New York Times::

We have been entertaining ourselves with theories about how this election year is going to be all about voter anger. Or Washington insiders. Or health care. Or TARP. But, really, it’s going to be about money. Gobs of cash falling on campaigns like tar balls on a beach.

Jim Reed has already done some innovative fund-raising in sending out his unique “Talking Mailpieces” to Democrats all over the country, where he uses Herger’s own words against him, to devastating effect:

If you agree that California needs a representative in Washington who will actually work for and represent us, contribute to Jim Reed now!

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National Tragedy Demands Real Response

One of my first real memories of tragedy was when the space shuttle Challenger exploded. My entire school was cheering on teacher Christa McAuliffe, and when the shuttle blew up in midair, I remember standing with my sobbing classmates, trying to make sense of what we had witnessed.

As an adult, I felt a similar connection the day after September 11. In the midst of a national crisis, Congressmen from both parties and both chambers stood on the Capitol stairs and sang “God Bless America.” I will never forget that moment and the sense of common cause it inspired in all who heard it.

Shared national experiences are pretty powerful things.  Although one can’t really compare a terrorist attack on our nation to a mechanical failure that causes catastrophic loss, the experience of communal mourning is still similar…denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  But what this list does not mention is “resolve”.  No one can deny that regardless the nature of the event, when this nation marches to the same drummer, it creates a powerful beat that can move mountains.

Yet I didn’t feel that sense of common cause last month when the Deepwater Horizon exploded and killed 11 people.  I didn’t feel it when the oil erupted like a volcano, gushing endlessly into the Gulf of Mexico. And I still don’t feel it even as the local tourism industry shuts down, fisheries are closed, water is endangered and the ecosystem is in peril.

Plenty of people are concerned about the Gulf, but it hasn’t permeated the national mood yet. In fact, instead of honoring the loss of life and examining the ongoing risk, some lawmakers seem to want us to forget all about this tragedy.

House Republicans have responded to the situation in the Gulf by talking about gas prices and calling for expanded offshore oil drilling.  The Energy Rapid Response team they have assembled doesn’t even include a member from the Gulf Coast–only landlocked lawmakers who aren’t affected by the pain of oil spills.

It must be easy to whine about paying more at the pump when your constituents aren’t dealing with cleaning up an oil slick that is spreading by the day.

In all fairness to the droning, disconnected Energy Rapid Response team, we do have some elected officials actually from the area who are choosing to side with the oil companies instead of their constituents.

Senator Mary Landrieu, also known as the oil industry’s PR director, is begging people not to rush to judgment even as her state’s wildlife refuges are coated with oil and Louisiana’s economy is threatened.  She claims to be on the side of the mom and pop drillers.  Wow.  If a big oil company like BP is having a tough time cleaning up their massive, historical mess, can you image what would happen if this kind of explosion happened to a small driller?

If there is one Member of Congress that gives me some hope it is West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd, who has met tragedy with the courage to stand up to negligent, dirty energy companies.  West Virginia was the site of the April 5, 2010 collapse at the Upper Big Branch coal mine that killed 29 people and injured 2 others.

Senator Byrd took time to reflect on the tragedy.  Instead of being an apologist for Massey Coal Company, he is representing the best interests of his constituents by demanding that dirty energy is made to pay for their mess and that West Virginians reexamine the role of the coal industry in their state.

Dirty energy has consequences.  We see that very clearing in the Gulf and in West Virginia.  We see how we pay the price for dirty oil and coal in losses: the loss of life, the loss of fishing and tourism jobs, the loss of economic growth and the loss of ecosystems that sustain us.

Loss is what happens when you make a pact with dirty energy. And even though we may not necessarily have a national drum beat quite yet, Americans are beginning to recognize that we can break this dangerous pact. Seven in ten say that it’s time to break our dangerous addiction to oil by fast-tracking clean energy legislation and by increasing our use of sustainable and renewable power and fuels. We can shift to cleaner technologies–things like fuel-efficient cars and renewable power–that will slash our reliance on oil and coal.

I would much rather see Americans rally around the promise of clean energy than yet another fossil fuel disaster. Wouldn’t you?

Heather Taylor-Miesle is the director of the NRDC Action Fund. Become a fan on Facebook or Twitter.

Send the Oil Severance Back to the Voters

treadmill Pictures, Images and PhotosOver in the Legislature, two Assembly members are working valiantly to institute a oil severance tax in the rat wheel that is also known as our Legislature.  Round and round they go. How they hope to get 2/3, nobody knows. Yet, clearly it is important that the issue continue to come up in the Capitol’s conversation, so that much makes these bills worth the time.

As oil companies continue to reap record profits amid strained state revenues, a pair of Democratic lawmakers are hoping to tap into their deep pockets by installing an oil severance tax that could relieve growing pressures to cut more state services.

Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Long Beach, introduced a bill Monday called the Fair Share Act, that would impose a 10 percent oil severance fee on extractions from California wells to bring in $1.5 billion to the state’s coffers.

A similar bill that has already cleared one committee, by Assemblyman Alberto Torrico, D-Fremont, would impose a 9.9 percent fee, but would earmark the revenues to higher education funding. (CoCo Times 10/27/09)

But the fact is that there is never going to be 2/3 to get any oil severance tax out of the Assembly, let alone through both houses of the Legislature.

If the oil severance, or really any taxes, are going to be passed, it is going to require, for the time being, to go to the voters.  The oil severance tax is supported by majorities in most polls. It will not be an easy campaign, as we saw from Prop 87 a few years ago. The oil companies will spend whatever it takes to avoid paying oil severance.

Yet we cannot continue to be the one state that doesn’t charge oil severance. If there is going to be drilling in the state, the state should get something back to not only mitigate the costs of that drilling, but to also ensure that there is something left when the drilling is over. To ensure that when the oil companies leave the state, as is bound to happen, that we are left with an education system that can build innovators for the future.

It will take a strong case laid out by Democrats and other progressives, but as a Texan whose education was subsidized by such a tax, it is something that we have to do.

COTCE Parsky Commission: Even More Tax Breaks for the Wealthy

Hannah-Beth Jackson, Speak Out California

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, the Governor and his cronies pull another one on the people of California. While the economy created by the Bush “free-marketeers” has sent the country on an economic free-fall; while California sees its unemployment rate hit over 11% and while the number of Californians that have seen their incomes fall below the federal poverty level has increased to over 20% of the population, a report approved by a Governor’s commission is recommending that we give a $14 Billion tax break to the wealthiest Californians.

The COTCE Commission (about which we’ve been blogging for the past few weeks) came up with its report Monday, September 14th. With unmitigated gall and indifference to the plight of California’s hard working yet struggling middle-class and minimum-wage earners, multi-millionaire and Chair, Gerald Parsky has pushed through a set of proposals that will result in a boondoggle for the rich and an increase in burden to the rest of us. Added to this insulting charade, Parsky has snuck into the series of recommendations, a last minute play by Commissioner and right-wing think tanker, Michael Boskin, a proposal that calls for opening up the coast for new oil leases. And by the way, Mr. Boskin serves on the Board of Exxon/Mobil, something he has failed to disclose while making this last-minute end-run around the Commissions own rules. (Of course, with Parsky in cahoots, the rules have only applied to the progressive proposals which Parsky and buddies have buried).

For more on this disgraceful waste of taxpayer money, see CalBuzz series on this Commission including the article by Jean Ross’ in Monday’s Cal Buzz.

It’s time to fight back. These “recommendations”  were supposed to be in the form of a consensus report. However, Parsky and company dropped that idea like a lead balloon when they realized that the progressives weren’t about to agree to yet another giveaway to the rich while California’s education, infra-structure, health care, public safety and human safety-nets have been torn to shreds by more and more tax breaks to the rich and loopholes to multi-national corporations. So when all bets were off, Parsky decided to go for the gold (although he himself is reputed to be worth hundreds of millions himself) and produce a lop-sided set of proposals that would only keep a corpse from laughing at their outlandishness.

This report shouldn’t see the light-of-day and should be relegated to the trash heap where it belongs. But the Governor is going to try to may hay with it so it’s up to us, the people of California, upon whom the burden of giving away yet more to those who have the most already, must rise up. Taxes are supposed to be about fairness and investment in the programs and services that benefit the community.

Contact the Governor, Senate President Pro tem Darrell Steinberg and Speaker Karen Bass and tell them:


What we need is a tax system that is fair, places the most responsibility on those who have the most so that all Californians have the opportunity to get the best education possible; be safe in their homes, schools and on the streets; are able to access quality, affordable healthcare and live a life of dignity and respect, regardless of their financial circumstances.

Urge the Legislature to take up a tax reform package that incorporates the ideas and principles recommended to the COTCE Commission (which were thrown aside by Parsky and his wealthy cronies) but which would make the system fairer, promote jobs, protect the environment and reflect a  21st Century economy.

For information on contacting state elected officials click here.

Let’s take back our state and create a future that is fair to ALL Californians, not just the wealthy.

Click through to Speak Out California

Drilling defeated, HUTA gas tax raid goes down: what now?

So the Assembly is wrapping up their budget session, and it turns out that the Assembly came up $1.1 billion dollars short of the Senate’s solutions.  Oil drilling failed, and the local government raid on HUTA (gas taxes) failed as well.

So where does that leave us?  These bills will go to the governor, and since there isn’t concurrence, it will be roughly a $23 billion solution rather than $24 billion.  But, the Governor has a line-item veto.  He can make various cuts with his blue pencil.  But $1.1 billion?  Who knows.  That seems like a tall order.

Considering what Schwarzenegger did the last time a partial solution was handed to him, I guess there’s an outside shot that he’ll just say no and open a new extraordinary session.  But he’ll probably just line-item some, and maybe make up the difference by eating into what is now a $900 million dollar budget reserve.

Is everybody ready to be back here in October?

…We’ll have a couple days for final analyses, but let’s remember that this is a terrible budget and a dark day for California.

…Let me clarify.  The Governor can make line-item cuts but he doesn’t necessarily have to, because this is a budget revision.  He can also shift around the size of the reserve.  In the end, he doesn’t actually have to be in balance for a revision; that’s a Constitutional need at the beginning of the process, as I understand it, not now.  Clearly from the Governor’s remarks, he’s not going to veto the whole thing, so this is the “solution,” for now.  There also may be Constitutional problems with some of the stuff passed.

…Apparently, the Governor said, jubilantly, “We missed the iceberg”.  First, WE didn’t miss anything, YOU dumped the iceberg on poor people.  And second, if you really think you’re in the clear, um, don’t look behind you.

The Midnight Special

Maybe you’ve been following along, but if you haven’t, the Senate essentially passed all of their budget bills, albeit with difficulty, and adjourned a session that started last night around 7:30pm at 6:16 this morning.  The Assembly is still working through some of the final trailer bills, including the local government raids and the offshore drilling proposal at Tranquillon Ridge.  Here’s an incomplete roundup from the LA Times.

The worst elements of the bill were passed while everyone was asleep.  They must be very proud of their work.

And of course, this is a rolling, perpetual crisis.  Dan Walters is correct today when he says that the state now operates on 5-month budget cycles.

There have been some discussions about shifting to a two-year budget cycle to ease the one-year cycle’s tight – and usually unmet – timetable. In reality, though, the state has shifted to a five-month cycle, with the latest version of the budget, which was undergoing the dreary drill of adoption Thursday night, being the latest example […]

If the five-month cycle holds true, the deal’s deficiencies will be acknowledged in October, when the state must redeem the IOUs it’s sending to creditors. And then legislators will return to Sacramento to be entertained by lobbyists, plug the new holes and collect about $1,200 a week in tax-free per diem checks.

In January, the governor will propose a 2010-11 budget and the game will begin again.

It’s as much that the legislature cannot fathom the extremity of the real budget problems as that the cumulative effect of kicking the can becomes greater with every kick.  Of course, there’s a way out – you could reduce useless tax breaks to corporations and increase revenue.  But that’s deeply unserious and verboten.

If ever the need for a Constitutional convention to fix the broken system in Sacramento has become clear, it’s now, when 40 years of progress has been reversed in the dead of night.

Setting The Scene

Well, it’s going to be a late night.  The Legislature is set to convene at 2pm to consider the budget deal.  Here’s the Assembly floor report.  I could write another “25 Things” just off of this document, some of the bits buried in there are amazing.  Here’s just one example:

Eliminates automatic cost of living adjustments (COLA) for CalWORKs and SSI/SSP grants.  Also eliminates COLA’s for the budgets of UC, CSU, and other state departments.

Also, IHSS workers, who make $12 bucks an hour, may have to pay for their OWN criminal background checks and fingerprinting.  Just for bureaucratic-speak, I also like the absurdity of this: “Consolidates the Bureau of Electronic Appliance Repair and the Bureau of Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation into the Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings, and Thermal Insulation.”  Done!

This will not be an easy vote.  Democratic lawmakers in the rank and file are unlikely to rubber stamp this.  In addition to Sen. DeSaulnier, I’m hearing that many other lawmakers are uncomfortable on a variety of measures, to the extent that the Assembly Speaker is not whipping votes on the offshore drilling proposal or the dissolution of the Integrated Waste Management Board (which costs $0.00 for the state).  The City of Industry lobbyist-backed deal to securitize redevelopment project money and tangle 10% of property tax revenue for up to 30 years isn’t a done deal, either.

A provision of the budget agreement, which faces a vote in the Legislature as early as today, would extend the life of the state’s redevelopment areas, a proposal that Industry officials have pushed for more than two years. Critics say the move would be a gift of public funds to benefit the proposed stadium and other private development at the expense of cities and counties that need the money for healthcare, welfare and police services.

A similar measure backed by Industry died in the Legislature last year after complaints from local government officials. But late in the budget negotiations, the city and its allies helped revive the proposal.

“They were able to find a mechanism to provide the infrastructure for an NFL stadium, but they aren’t able to find the mechanism to fund nutrition for a hungry child,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said Wednesday. “It’s galling. It’s really galling.”

AFSCME is running ads against the whole budget deal, and most advocacy groups have been quite critical.  I would guess that most people in the Assembly have the perspective of indie Juan Arambula, that he’ll vote for most of the budget “with a heavy heart and a clothespin on my nose.”  But I think some provisions could easily get struck down today, so it’s worth letting lawmakers know what you think.

Exclusive: Mark DeSaulnier Voting No on “Most” Of The Budget

I interviewed Sen. Mark DeSaulnier just a few minutes ago for a series on CA-10 candidates.  But I took the opportunity to ask him about the budget deal.  Un unusually blunt and what I would characterize as irate language, DeSaulnier blasted the budget and the process that created it.  “It’s all awful,” he said.  “On a majority-vote level, with votes that require a majority vote, California still leads the nation.  But on a fiscal level, we’re living in the Dark Ages.  The system is completely dysfunctional and maybe the only good thing is that people will finally see the kind of change we need.  Sadly, too many people are still in denial about that change.  But we can’t go on like this.  It’s just a mess.”

DeSaulnier thinks that the economy is unlikely to change dramatically to bail out this budget, and it will take a long time for General Fund revenues to get to a point to pay off the money borrowed from education.  And so we’ll remain in this dark place for some time.

The Senator is carrying a bill in the legislature to put together a Constitutional convention, and he is “more convinced than ever” about the need for it.  He believes that, after the budget is put the bed, there is an urgent need, recognized by the leadership, to turn completely to reform.  Sen. Steinberg has said to him that the message will be nothing but change, change, change.  And the caucus wants to work, whether through a revision commission or reforms that could be put together with majority support, to do a “Constitutional convention in the building.”  Unfortunately, DeSaulnier said, everyone on both sides of the aisle immediately goes to the worst-case scenario of a convention, thinking that their gains and protections will be lost.  But that’s no excuse.  DeSaulnier hoped he could get with Republican leaders like Sam Blakeslee to find common ground on a few reform issues, but he’s not sanguine about those choices.  “They’re individually good people, but put them together and they’re a cult, not a party.  Milton Friedman’s dead, move on.”

When I asked what he would vote for on Thursday, he said “I will probably vote against most of it.”  DeSaulnier singled out two pieces that could not get his support: the offshore drilling in Tranquillon Ridge, and the raid on local governments.  On the drilling, he doesn’t understand why Democrats would approve such a proposal for a paltry $100 million dollars in this budget year.  “I don’t know why the Governor would do that.  Whatever environmental record he claims to have will go down the tubes.  I never thought he was particularly green to begin with, he tried to slow-walk AB32 and all sorts of environmental initiatives.  He’s the worst Governor in state history, just like George W. Bush was the worst President in history.

On the local government raid, DeSaulnier said that as someone who came from local government, he could not see clear to essentially bankrupt them.  Those takings don’t take place until December, according to him, so he would rather get the LAO involved, score the kinds of tax credits at the local level, things like enterprise zones that don’t work and other giveaways to corporate interests, and suspend them to make local government whole.  I think it’s an interesting strategy, though I don’t know if it could succeed.  Tying it to local government needs is smart.

And by the way, the crazy redevelopment money scheme, to borrow against those future funds and securitize 10% of property taxes for 10-20 years?  DeSaulnier called that “insane” and “illegal,” and just a shadow play by Republicans “so they can go back to San Diego and Riverside and say they tried to save their local money and failed.”

DeSaulnier has an election coming up, and thus an incentive to take a bold stand.  But this is pretty darn bold.  And if there are enough Democrats to go along with him, Republicans may indeed be forced to own this budget.

Burton Demands “No” Vote On Offshore Drilling In The Budget

This is a big deal.  John Burton just sent out an action alert to CDP delegates and supporters urging them to vote AGAINST an element of the budget negotiated by the Democratic leadership.  Specifically, he wants the offshore drilling at Tranquillon Ridge voted down.

As you may have heard, legislative leaders and the governor have reached a tentative budget deal that the Senate and Assembly could vote on as soon as tomorrow.

One part of the package is a Republican-written bill that would allow offshore drilling in state-controlled waters off California’s coast for the first time since the devastating 1969 oil spill off the Santa Barbara coast. This proposal is an affront to all Californians and we must urge lawmakers to vote it down.

This sweetheart deal for one oil company was negotiated behind closed doors, without any legislative hearings to allow public comment.

It strips the State Lands Commission – which has approved or rejected oil leases for the past 150 years – of this power and gives it to a commission controlled by the governor’s administration. This commission would have unlimited authority to rewrite the lease to benefit the oil company.

The offshore drilling plan does not solve either this year’s budget problems or systemic problems. That’s because its promises of future revenue are not actually written into law.

This Republican offshore drilling scheme endangers California’s environment. It would further pad the pockets of oil executives. And it does virtually nothing to solve the state’s current or future budget problems.

Ironically, the same Republican legislators who support this sweetheart deal are the ones who refused to vote for our Democratic leaders’ proposal for an oil-severance tax like the one levied in every other oil-producing state.

Please call your local lawmaker and urge him or her to say NO to new offshore drilling. Say NO to jeopardizing our coastline for minimal budget help this year or in the future.

At the end of the email, Burton reminds readers that these kind of backroom deals are part of why “it’s so important to have a majority-vote budget in California so Republicans cannot hijack the budget process to make bad policy changes that are extraneous to the state budget.”  A-men to that, but tell it to the Democratic leaders who helped negotiate this.

Karen Bass was asked today by reporters why the offshore drilling bill was included in the budget agreement, and she replied, “It comes down to $100 million dollars.”  Apparently you can put a price on despoiling the coastline and destroying the environment.  Turns out it’s 1/880th of total budgetary spending.

It’s good to see the Chairman of the CDP picking up on a campaign by the Courage Campaign and amplifying it.  The offshore drilling plan will be considered in a separate trailer bill.  It can be defeated.

Offshore Drilling: Coming to a Coast Near You?

PhotobucketCalifornia was, once upon a time, the leader in offshore drilling. In fact, the first submerged oil wells was in the Santa Barbara Channel. Public acceptance can change rapidly when you spill 200,000 gallons of crude oil into the ocean. And change it did.

In many ways, that day in 1969 was the time when the environmental movement came of age.  It had a real, tangible event to show the world of how quickly we can turn a once beautiful strip of coast into a toxic mess.  And since that spill, we have cleared our coast of offshore drilling. But in the heat of the “Drill, Baby, Drill” McCain candidacy, George W Bush revoked the executive order putting a moratorium on offshore oil drilling. States across the South have invited oil companies to explore their coastlines.

But the Pacific Coast had held the line against offshore drilling.  During the Drill, Baby, Drill heydays, Arnold Schwarzenegger swam against the tide of his own party, calling for the continued moratorium on off-shore drilling.

America is so addicted to oil that it will take years to ween ourselves from it. To look for new ways to feed our addiction is not the answer. Anyone who tells you this would bring down gas prices anytime soon is blowing smoke.

But with Arnold, any principle can be sacrificed for the all-mighty dollar. So when it became apparent the May 19 election was going to fail, he turned his attention to the Tranquillion Ridge Project. The Project claimed that it would bring $1.8 Billion into the general fund. Each step of the way, John Garamendi fought him from his post on the State Lands Commission.

Despite a setback from that commission, Arnold still included the project in his proposals for the budget. Today, the LA Times called the plan out and provided a better method of attaining revenues:

Admittedly, the state could use the money. But that’s not a good enough reason to subvert the authority of the Lands Commission, sell California’s coastline in exchange for empty promises, ignore the wishes of Santa Barbara residents and dismiss the outcome of a long process of analysis and public hearings. The Lands Commission, in fact, was created in 1938 to bring more transparency to the awarding of oil leases after a scandal involving the Department of Finance.

If the governor really wants more oil money, there’s a better way: He could resurrect a plan he introduced last year calling for a 9.9% tax on crude oil extracted in the state. California is the only state in the union that doesn’t collect such an extraction tax, and Schwarzenegger estimated in November that it would bring in roughly $1.2 billion in the next fiscal year — dwarfing the $100 million that would be generated by the Plains Exploration project. (LAT 6/8/09)

A resolution advocating for oil severance made it through the CDP resolutions process, and such a proposal is now official Democratic Party policy.  If the Governor is serious about fixing the budget, that is where he would be pushing the Legislative Republicans. 70% of Californians support an oil extraction tax of some sort, yet the Republicans are still blocking the will of the people.

Drill, Baby, Drill is a recipe for disaster in both good and bad economic times. We should not be coompromising our goals of a clean and sustainable energy future for a few hundred million dollars.  I’ll be working to provide more depth on this issue, but in the mean time, consider emailing your legislator or joining John Garamendi’s facebook group to support the State Lands Commission’s position against drilling. We simply cannot afford another to turn our backs on 1969, the devastating consequences of a spill are just not worth the price.