Friday, December 19, 2014     Volume: 15, Issue: 41
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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on July 29th, 2014, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 15, Issue 21 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 15, Issue 21

Political Watch 7/31/14

• With the planning phase for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) 2017-2022 Oil and Gas Leasing Program coming up, California politicians decided to try to head off the Department of the Interior before it got too carried away. On July 22, U.S. Rep. Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) and 36 other members of the California Congressional delegation, including U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), penned a letter to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, requesting that the BOEM prohibit any new offshore oil and gas lease sales along the California coast. The letter responded to a June request from the Department of the Interior for input on the upcoming planning phase for the next five-year leasing plan. The oil and gas leasing program is updated every five years. The current plan doesn’t include any leases along the Pacific Coast. According Capps’s spokesperson Chris Meagher, the initial plan proposed for 2012-2017 did dole out leases just off the coast of California. Leases were slated for the Point Arena Basin of Northern California and the Santa Maria/Santa Barbara/Ventura and Oceanside/Capistrano basins of Southern California. The final plan didn’t include those leases. Meagher said the reason for the change of plans was a protest from California delegates. The final plan states, “The exclusion of the Pacific Coast is consistent with the long-standing interests of Pacific coast states, as framed in an agreement that the governors of California, Washington, and Oregon signed in 2006.” The plan also notes that state officials continued to voice the concerns in formal comments submitted on the draft proposal in 2009. “That’s why they’re getting in early this year: to be very clear that California doesn’t want any more drilling,” Meagher said.

• Unemployment data released by the California Development Department for June 2014 puts Santa Barbara County at 5.4 percent, up from 5 percent in May 2014, and below last June’s rate of 6.8 percent. The county’s number is below the state’s unemployment rate of 7.3 percent for June 2014, as well as the nation’s, which was 6.3 percent for the same month. As usual, the city of Santa Barbara had a much lower unemployment rate than the county for the same period, 3.9 percent, and Northern Santa Barbara County cities had significantly higher rates. Lompoc came in at 9.7 percent, Guadalupe’s rate was 9.4 percent, and Santa Maria’s was 8.5 percent.