Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Carbajal pulls offshore drilling resolution


After initially placing a resolution on the County Board of Supervisors agenda to oppose offshore oil drilling in federal waters, Supervisor Salud Carbajal pulled the item during Tuesday's hearing, citing a lack of urgency.
“I felt initially that it was an urgent matter that couldn’t wait,” he explained. “I realized that it’s not urgent and it could be followed and considered by the Legislative Committee.”

Carbajal had proposed sending letters to President Bush and Congress opposing suggestions to lift federal bans on offshore oil development made in recent weeks.
The most notable of those suggestions came during a speech in June by President Bush calling for the lifting of federal moratoria on offshore oil drilling along the Outer Continental Shelf, portions of the seafloor outside of state-owned territory.
In that speech, President Bush said he would lift the presidential ban against such exploration only if Congress did so first.
Carbajal said he later decided it would be unlikely that the Democratic-controlled Congress would take such an action.
“Unless Congress does something, it’s going to be something we already know — that President Bush is just posturing,” he said. “…I remain extremely concerned about the president’s proposal, but until it takes some kind of form, it remains a hollow proposal.”
SOS California, a nonprofit group in support of offshore drilling as a way to reduce pollution caused by natural oil seepage, hailed Carbajal’s decision to pull the resolution.
Organizers with the group had planned to bring hundreds of supporters to the meeting to oppose the proposal and released a statement outlining their argument.
“We believe it is important to move California towards energy independence and improve our local marine environment by reducing natural seepage pollution and using the additional offshore oil revenues to fund solar, electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid rebates and credits,” co-founder Bruce Allen said in the statement.
Although Carbajal decided to remove the item from the agenda, he said the Legislative Committee would follow the issue and determine if the Board of Supervisors should take any action.
Meanwhile, Assemblymember Pedro Nava continued pushing for his own resolution in the California Legislature also in opposition to lifting the bans on offshore oil and gas drilling.
“California’s coastline is an international treasure and we’re not going to sacrifice it to President Bush and his ill-conceived scheme,” Nava said in a news release. “I’ve been fighting the Bush administration’s attempts to spoil and soil our coast for many years.
“Our beaches have been stained and marine life killed because of oil spills,” he continued. “Offshore oil drilling will not reduce the price of gasoline. It will put our coastline at risk, endanger tourism, fisheries and coastal recreation.”
During his speech, President Bush called the federal bans outdated and counterproductive and argued that access to oil fields below federal waters could produce up to 18 billion barrels of oil.

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