The second attempt to make an end run on the State Lands Commission by legislating a temporary sham commission fails. Enough is enough. It’s time for PxP stop these slimy attempts to subvert California’s independent natural resource management agencies.
By DEBRA KAHN of Greenwire
A bill that would have allowed the first new offshore oil lease in California in 30 years to offset budget woes failed to pass the state Legislature last week, leaving the longstanding moratorium intact for now.
A.B. 1536 died in committee Friday, to the relief of environmental groups that had supported an offshore drilling lease proposal earlier this year by Houston-based Plains Exploration and Production Co., or PXP.
PXP had secured the support of several environmental groups by promising to donate land and shut down all drilling off the coast of Santa Barbara by 2022, but those groups balked at the prospect of circumventing the State Lands Commission, the body normally in charge of in-state energy production (Greenwire, June 2).
The bill by Assembly Minority Leader Sam Blakeslee (R) would have supplanted the Lands Commission with a three-member board of appointees of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) instead of one appointee and two elected officials. The commission voted in January to reject PXP’s offer, despite the environmental concessions and up to $5 billion in oil royalties through 2022 it could produce.