Tag Archives: oceans

Drilling Here: Offshore Rigs For NorCal Coast?

Today’s San Francisco Chronicle has a front page story on potential offshore oil rigs along the California coast – including regions where no such drilling currently exists, such as the North Coast.

The federal government is taking steps that may open California’s fabled coast to oil drilling in as few as three years, an action that could place dozens of platforms off the Sonoma, Mendocino and Humboldt coasts, and raises the specter of spills, air pollution and increased ship traffic into San Francisco Bay.

Millions of acres of oil deposits, mapped in the 1980s when then-Interior Secretary James Watt and Energy Secretary Donald Hodel pushed for California exploration, lie a few miles from the forested North Coast and near the mouth of the Russian River, as well as off Malibu, Santa Monica and La Jolla in Southern California.

“These are the targets,” said Richard Charter, a lobbyist for the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund who worked for three decades to win congressional bans on offshore drilling. “You couldn’t design a better formula to create adverse impacts on California’s coastal-dependent economy.”

The targeted areas include the coastline off of Humboldt Bay, Mendocino County, northern Sonoma County, most of the unspoiled waters off of Santa Barbara County’s western shore, even Santa Monica and La Jolla. Exploration could be permitted as soon as 2010 and rigs could be in place by 2012.

All for what the article suggests would be merely 17 months’ worth of oil supplies.

Neither Obama nor his Interior Secretary nominee Ken Salazar have made firm commitments on offshore drilling. They seem open to the concept, but might look at limiting it to the Gulf of Mexico.

What’s needed is a firmer “no” from the new administration on offshore drilling here in California. The 1969 oil spill was devastating for Santa Barbara’s coast and economy and spills continue to this day. Spills wreck the environment and as a result cost local economies jobs and economic security. Drilling isn’t much of a solution for the country and it’s not going to help California’s worsening economy.

Unfortunately the Democratic surrender on drilling in September didn’t help matters. Congress needs to reverse that reckless and panicked decision – it would certainly help stiffen Obama’s and Salazar’s spines. It’s time for California and the US to abandon the failed models of the 20th century and protect our oceans and our jobs, instead of giving in to conservative manufactured outrage every time.