Schwarzenegger Opposes Oil Drilling Bill

Thursday, July 27, 2006
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has teamed up with an environmental group that endorsed the governor's intention to block Rep. Richard Pombo's offshore oil-drilling legislation. Schwarzenegger blasted Pombo's bill in a conference call on July 24 with reporters organized by the Sierra Club. Pombo says he wants to shift power to grant drilling licenses from the federal government to the states, in part because Congress is under increasing pressure to do something about energy prices; it only narrowly re-approved a decades-long drilling moratorium earlier this year. He said doing this would effectively ban drilling in California forever, while giving other states the chance to open their coasts. But as the Stockton Record reported, Schwarzenegger wants no change to the existing federal ban and has been lobbying lawmakers to block a Senate drilling bill under debate this week that he says is a stalking horse for Pombo's measure. Such opposition - mirrored by the Democrat-controlled state Legislature - means Pombo's bill probably would not affect California. The legislation permanently would ban oil and gas drilling up to 50 miles offshore - unless a state petitions for it - and would give states the option to allow drilling from 50 to 100 miles offshore. California is highly unlikely to permit drilling in that zone, and beyond it, the Pacific drops off beyond reach of modern oil derricks. Also, a February poll by the Public Policy Institute of California showed nearly two-thirds of all Californians opposing any new drilling off the state's shores. (Source: Stockton Record)
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