Arnold Loses Key Enviro Support on Offshore Oil Plan


oilrigGov. Arnold’s bid to resurrect a disputed offshore oil drilling plan suffered a political setback Wednesday when the top lawyer for a key environmental group informed him they could not back his proposal.

While the Santa Barbara-based Environmental Defense Center still believes the controversial Tranquillon Ridge offshore drilling plan should go forward, it cannot support Schwarzenegger’s effort to undo a State Lands Commission vote against the project earlier this year, attorney Linda Krop said in a letter to the governor’s point man on the proposal.

“This is a difficult dilemma, but we simply cannot endorse this process,” Krop wrote to Tom Sheehy, deputy director of the Department of Finance.

The governor’s bid to undo through legislation the State Lands Commission vote against the complex lease arrangement with PXP oil “establishes a precedent whereby a majority vote on the SLC can be overruled by the minority,” Krop’s letter said.

Schwarzenegger is hoping to get $1.8 billion in royalties from the PXP oil company for the 13-year lease, which would be granted in exchange for a host of environmental concessions, including the company’s promise to shut down permanently its offshore drilling operations in nearby federal waters in 2022.

Calbuzz previously reported details and background on the offshore controversy here.

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There are 3 comments for this post

  1. avatar Anonymous says:

    Although Tom Sheehy, Deputy Director of Finance, and PXP, are running around Sacramento misleading legislators regarding ‘environmental support’ for their insane plan to strip State Lands Commission of jurisdiction over offshore oil drilling, it should now be clear that every single legitimate environmental organization in California opposes Sheehy’s folly.

    Ironically, this is exactly what enviros told Sheehy last week in a statewide phone call. Yet instead of heeding the advice, Sheehy was so busy admiring his ‘plan’ to give the Gov. a veto over SLC through the budget legislation he couldn’t hear it.

    Now the whole scheme is going down in flames, as it should. If California is going to resurrect the bad old days of ignoring sustainable energy in favor of drilling the hell out of the coast, it should be done in public and by legitimate state agencies. And not behind closed doors in the dead of night by a desperate governor and a few budget obsessed cronies.

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