Our friend Greg Lucas was first to report, over at California’s Capitol, that Gov. Schwarzenegger’s May revise plans call for resurrecting a controversial deal to allow a new lease for offshore oil drilling off the coast in Santa Barbara County.
In exchange for the lease, the oil company Plains Exploration & Production (PXP) had agreed to a series of environmental concessions. The proposal had the backing of most local coastal protection groups, but the State Lands Commission voted it down in January.
Under terms of the deal, the state stood to receive about $1.8 billion in oil royalties over the next 14 years for allowing PXP expanded drilling rights on the existing Platform Irene at Tranquillon Ridge, off the coast from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The governor’s new budget plan proposes legislation to authorize the lease, despite the earlier commission vote, and includes $100 million in revenue for the upcoming fiscal year from awarding it.
In exchange for expanded drilling rights, the company offered a mandatory shutdown date of 2022, thousands of acres of permanently protected onshore lands, approximately $350 million of tax revenue for local government, plus the royalty payments to the state.