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Budget Conference Committee Doesn’t Consider Governor’s Scheme to Expand Offshore Oil Drilling

This just in from Pedro Nava's office:

June 17th, 2009

Budget Conference Committee Doesn’t Consider Governor’s Scheme to Expand Offshore Oil Drilling

Sacramento- The Budget Conference Committee rejected the Governor's attempt to undermine the State Lands Commission offshore oil leasing authority. New offshore oil drilling was not included in the final recommendations. Congratulations to the environmental coalition that worked tirelessly to save our coast from the first new offshore oil drilling lease since the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill.

“For over 40 years, Californians have not allowed a single new oil lease off our coast, and the State Lands Commission has protected us from this risk,” Said Terry O’Day of Environment Now, “Undermining the Commission’s independence is wrong for this project, for this budget crisis, and for our future.”

I had the pleasure of working with Sierra Club California, Surfrider Foundation, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Environment Now, Environment California and others in defeating the Governor's proposal.

“Sierra Club California applauds the Conference Committee’s decision to keep new offshore oil drilling out of its budget-balancing proposal. We will continue to work with Assemblymember Nava and other coastal defenders to oppose efforts to overturn the State Lands Commission’s denial of the PXP proposal,” said Bill Magavern, Director of Sierra Club California.

It was especially important to beat this bad deal because Interior Secretary Salazar is right now writing new offshore oil lease proposals for the nation. Any new drilling in California sends the wrong message to the federal government.

“At a time when new offshore drilling threatens our coasts around the nation, it is more important than ever to ensure that our decision making processes are sound, independent and resistant to tampering by special interests regardless of the circumstances,” says Surfrider Foundation’s Chad Nelsen.

Let's savor this victory, but for only a few moments. The issue of offshore oil drilling isn't dead yet. There is the possibility the Big 5 will try to revive this bad deal as part of budget negotiations. We still have work to do.

But for now, a big round of applause for those environmental champions who fought this battle and won.