Calif. gov. wants to revive oil drilling project

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By the Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is pushing legislation that he believes would raise $1.8 billion for cash-strapped California by allowing the first new oil drilling project off the state's coast in 40 years.

The governor's proposal would revive a project for the Santa Barbara coast that was rejected by the State Lands Commission in January. This latest fundraising suggestion comes on the heels of other money-making ideas that included selling state-owned properties such as San Quentin State Prison and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The governor's legislation would give the Department of Finance - whose representative on the commission was the lone vote in support of the drilling project - authority to reconsider the proposal.

"It's got tremendous environmental benefits, and we can't turn a blind eye to the fiscal benefits," said Tom Sheehy, who represented state finance director Michael Genest in the commission's 2-1 vote.

The governor's support for the drilling project, which would expand drilling off Platform Irene in the Santa Barbara Channel, does not indicate a change in his opposition to offshore drilling, Sheehy said. The proposal would not violate the terms of the state's drilling moratorium, which includes an exception for any state oil field that drains into a federal oil field, he added.

Read the rest of this piece at Alaska Journal


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