Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger withdrew his support Monday for a controversial new offshore oil drilling project off the Santa Barbara coast in the wake of a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
This week Sam Blakeslee takes sole ownership of the “Flaming Oil Rig” award.
In a second attempt to to an end run on the California State Lands Commission denial of the PXP, CA Rep. Sam Blakeslee “guts and stuffs” AB1536 to create a sham committee to approve the project.
Urgent Action Needed to Oppose AB1536
In July you all worked hard to defeat the CA Governor’s Oil Drilling Scheme. Your efforts helped carry the day. The Governor’s plan was defeated in the California Assembly by a vote of 28 – 43.
There was massive opposition to the first attempt at this end run and the opposition has only grown.
Unfortunately, PXP is trying to make a comeback and CA Asm. Sam Blakeslee is its new champion – Republican Assembly member Sam Blakeslee has a gut-and-amend bill (AB 1536) to hand PXP the 1st new lease to drill in state waters since the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill. The Blakeslee bill would create a sham committee to subvert the State Lands Commission authority.
We have to defeat this blatant disregard for California’s independent resource protection agencies. We did it before and we can do it again.
Your urgent action is needed — AB 1536 (Blakeslee) is currently in the Senate Rules Committee. The bill cannot proceed without special action by the Committee. Please contact Senator Darrell Steinberg (Senate President Pro Tempore and Chair, Rules Committee) at (916) 651-4006 to express your opposition to this bill and ask him to stop AB 1536. Remind Senator Steinberg that 93 environmental organizations oppose this legislation.
Please take the time to thank those Members of the Assembly who stood strong and did not support this coastal giveaway the last time it was considered. Ask them to stand with you on this issue again. Their names and phone numbers are below.
Tom Ammiano (916) 319-2013
Jim Beall (916) 319-2024
Marty Block (916) 319-2078
Bob Blumenfield (916) 319-2040
Julia Brownley (916) 319-2041
Joan Buchanan (916) 319-2015
Anna Caballero (916) 319-2028
Wilmer Amina Carter (916) 319-2062
Wes Chesbro (916) 319-2001
Joe Coto (916) 319-2023
Mike Davis (916) 319-2048
Hector De La Torre (916) 319-2050
Kevin De León (916) 319-2045
Mike Eng (916) 319-2049
Noreen Evans (916) 319-2007
Mike Feuer (916) 319-2042
Nathan Fletcher (916) 319-2075
Paul Fong (916) 319-2022
Felipe Fuentes (916) 319-2039
Warren Furutani (916) 319-2055
Cathleen Galgiani (916) 319-2017
Isadore Hall (916) 319-2052
Diane Harkey (916) 319-2073
Mary Hayashi (916) 319-2018
Ed Hernandez (916) 319-2057
Jerry Hill (916) 319-2019
Alyson Huber (916) 319-2010
Jared Huffman (916) 319-2006
Dave Jones (916) 319-2009
Paul Krekorian (916) 319-2043
Ted Lieu (916) 319-2053
Bonnie Lowenthal (916) 319-2054
Fiona Ma (916) 319-2012
Tony Mendoza (916) 319-2056
William Monning (916) 319-2027
John Perez (916) 319-2046
V. Manuel Perez (916) 319-2080
Anthony Portantino (916) 319-2044
Ira Ruskin (916) 319-2021
Mary Salas (916) 319-2079
Lori Saldaña (916) 319-2076
Nancy Skinner (916) 319-2014
Jose Solorio (916) 319-2076
Audra Strickland (916) 319-2037
Sandré Swanson (916) 319-2016
Tom Torlakson (916) 319-2011
Norma Torres (916) 319-2061
Alberto Torrico (916) 319-2020
Mariko Yamada (916) 319-2008
Speaker Karen Bass (916) 319-2047
Last week the state Assembly defeated a plan to drill off the coast of Santa Barbara. But the group behind this plan, a Houston-based oil company called Plains Exploration and Production, Co. (PXP), isn’t about to give up — not when it has spent millions so far on PR and lobbying.
Wall Street investors, having heard that PXP’s lobbying efforts were able to get Gov. Schwarzenegger to reverse his position on drilling, have been pouring money into PXP. And the pressure is on PXP to push through its deal.
Later this month, PXP plans to resurrect the Tranquillion Ridge offshore oil drilling bill. Once again the company will blitz legislators with a hardball campaign and lobbying agenda.
While PXP (and the Wall Streeters who are betting on it) will make billions of dollars by tapping into a miniscule amount of oil (barely 10.13 billion gallons), millions of Californians will suffer.
The modern anti-offshore drilling movement gained significant steam after the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill. At that time, approximately 100,000 barrels of crude spilled into the ocean, contaminating 150 miles of coast as well as devastating delicate marine ecosystems and endangering wildlife. It provided a vivid image of how dangerous offshore drilling is.
Now sensing weakness in the Legislature, today’s oil industry hopes to capitalize on the current budget crisis and tempt lawmakers with big oil money. Offshore oil drilling is not a viable alternative. Drilling has been—and still is—a dirty and dangerous business.
For years oil companies have talked about environmental safety and improved technology. They used this argument in 1989, when oil tanker Exxon Valdez dumped 10.8 million gallons of crude into Alaska’s Prince William Sound; in 2005 when hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in 743,700 gallons of oil spilled; in 2007 when cargo vessel Cosco Busan hit the Bay Bridge and spilled 58,000 gallons of bunker fuel into the San Francisco bay; and Wednesday, when a leak in a Texas oil rig spilled 58,000 gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico.
According to recent reports drilling is dirty. Drilling a new well fills the surrounding ocean waters with thousands of gallons of lubricant containing arsenic, lead, mercury, cadmium, petroleum hydrocarbons, aluminum and other heavy metals. Air pollution from a single rig is equivalent to 7,000 cars each driving 50 miles per day.
And that’s not including the spills, which are alarmingly frequent: Federal agencies reported that between 2006 and the early part of 2009 there were over 2,069 oil related incidents involved in offshore drilling.
It’s important to remember why the California coast has been free from offshore oil drilling for 40 years. The coast defines California. It’s where we relax, swim, surf, sail and fish. It’s home to thousands of species of marine wildlife that use California waters for migrating, breeding and habitation. Our coast is worth protecting, and Californians know it.
With so much money on the line oil companies will try to use the recent PPIC poll as reason to open our coast to oil drilling. But what the numbers really indicate are years of aggressive and expensive PR and lobbying efforts—more than $17 million (lobbying alone) in California since the beginning of 2005. The truth is offshore oil drilling is a risky and imperfect solution, and has no place off our coast. Californians have no intention of selling out. The oil industry can spend as much as it wants on publicity stunts to manipulate public opinion, but we aren’t fooled.
We love our coast. It must remain clean and safe.