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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on March 19th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 3 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 20, Issue 3

Supervisors support Carbajal's bill to ban offshore drilling

By CHRIS MCGUINNESS

A divided Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted to support a bill to ban future oil and gas drilling in the waters off the California coast.

The board voted 3-1 on March 19, with 4th District Supervisor Peter Adam absent, to support the California Clean Coast Act, a bill authored by former county supervisor and current Central Coast Congressman Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara). Carbajal introduced the bill in January. If passed, it would permanently ban future offshore oil and gas leasing in areas of the Outer Continental Shelf off the coast of California.

"As the Trump administration moves to expand offshore oil drilling in the Pacific and Arctic Oceans, highlighting our community's strong support for the California Clean Coast Act is critical to opposing these efforts," Carbajal said in a written statement to the Sun after learning of the board's vote. "Local coastal tourism and the success of local businesses are undeniably tied to a clean coast and healthy, thriving ocean ecosystems—that's why I'm fighting to protect our coastline."

At the March 19 meeting, 3rd District Supervisor Joan Hartmann said that supporting the bill was an important part of addressing the issue of climate change and noted recent protests and demonstrations by students across the county related to the issue.

"I don't want to be on the wrong side of history," Hartmann said.

Fifth District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino was the lone vote against supporting the bill. He called the notion of ending oil and gas production "premature," noting that supporting such a move would mean Americans would have to make difficult sacrifices and give up many of the products and modern conveniences created using oil, something he wasn't sure many people were ready to do.

"We want to get rid of production, but we still want to use the product," he said.

The board's vote of support for Carbajal's bill comes as the county is evaluating a request by Plains All American Pipeline to replace 123 miles of oil pipes though three counties. The project, if approved, could allow for offshore oil platforms off the county's coast—shuttered since a 142,800-gallon oil spill in 2015—to come back online. That proposal is still in the scoping phase, and a vote on the project by the county Planning Commission is not expected to occur until 2020.

Carbajal's bill is still making its way through the legislative process. It was referred to the U.S. House of Representatives' Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources in early February.




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