State's Lands Commission Rejects Deal to Allow More Offshore Oil Drilling In Santa Barbara
--Deal required company to give away 4000 acres for parkland to the Trust for Public Land and commit to a 13 year limit on the operation of the wells, and was endorsed by a large coalition of environmental groups
--Those who opposed the deal said there was no real guarantee that the 13 year limit could be enforced
Why the Santa Barbara oil deal collapsed: A lack of disclosure by the company and environmentalists helped lead a state panel to kill the offshore drilling deal. ...What's more, there was no way to guarantee that the drilling platforms would be closed in 2022 as promised. The platforms are in federal waters, and the U.S. government has a strong interest in ensuring that drilling continues. The state has no power to force the feds to give up their oil leases; the federal government could force Plains Exploration to keep drilling. Even the land donation was in question. Company lawyers told Lands Commission staff that some of the parcels had title problems that made their transfer uncertain.
This month, 12 legislators representing coastal districts came out against the plan, including Nava, a Democrat who is a former member of the Coastal Commission. "I'm concerned about the likelihood it would create a precedent that would be difficult to combat," he said. In a letter to Garamendi, Nava and the others said the plan "could create the perception that offshore drilling is now acceptable and safe."
For maps of the proposal: