Santa Barbara County panel OKs offshore oil drilling

In a largely symbolic act, the county Board of Supervisors votes 3 to 2 to support offshore oil extraction.
By Maria L. La Ganga, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
August 27, 2008
A divided Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday in support of offshore drilling, after an impassioned daylong hearing in which this year's record gas prices trumped the memory of a disastrous oil spill.

By a 3-2 vote that broke along geographic lines, supervisors agreed to send a letter to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger urging him to change state policy and "allow expanded oil exploration and extraction" off the county's coast.

Representatives of the liberal coast lost out to their more conservative inland colleagues in the symbolic action, playing out tensions that have long plagued a region better known for its broad beaches and celebrity residents than its oil and agricultural fields.

"Unless you arrived here on a horse or walked or rode a bicycle, you are part of the oil industry," said Supervisor Joni Gray before voting in favor of the measure. "All we're doing is asking the state to reexamine their stand on abandoning any kind of offshore drilling."

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