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Assembly Votes Down Governor’s Offshore Oil Drilling Proposal

The plan would have opened up reserves off Santa Barbara's coast

The California Assembly on Friday defeated Gov. Schwarzenegger’s offshore oil drilling proposal with a 43-28 vote.

Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, led the charge in fighting the plan, which would have allowed the first new drilling lease in state waters since the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill.

“The governor made Santa Barbara a target for new oil drilling. I am proud that we rejected this insidious proposal,” Nava said. “The plan would have unraveled critical environmental protections, put the coast at risk and set a terrible precedent while the federal government is considering their five-year drilling plan for the outer continental shelf.”

The oil drilling proposal was designed to revive a lease that had been rejected by the State Lands Commission earlier this year and allow Plains Exploration and Production Company (PXP) to bypass the public environmental review process and gain access to oil reserves off of the Santa Barbara coast.

A thorough review by the attorney general and the State Lands Commission found the purported agreement to be unenforceable.

“The governor tried to set up a sham committee where he controlled two of the three votes, guaranteeing him the result he wanted,” Nava said. “Rejecting his scheme means the California coast is not for sale, and it tells the federal government that California remains steadfast in our opposition to offshore drilling.”

— John Mann is a spokesman for Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara.

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