Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced on Monday that he no longer supports the Tranquillon Ridge proposal to initiate offshore drilling in California waters. Also referred to as T-Ridge, the project would have enabled one of California’s largest oil and natural gas producers to access reserves off the coast of Santa Barbara County, a move that would have had devastating effects on the marine and coastal environments in the region.
As part of the proposal, the state was set to receive $100 million in short term revenue from oil royalties. In light of the recent oil spills off the coast of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, however, the Governor declared: “…if I have a choice between the $100 million and what I see in the Gulf of Mexico, I’d rather just figure out how to make up for that $100 million.”
In addition to spills, offshore oil drilling poses risks to our environment and public health that we can no longer afford to take, such as destruction of coastal wetlands and marine habitat, release of heavy metals into ocean waters, and visual blight – not to mention mass expenditures of energy and release of greenhouse gases and pollution into the atmosphere.
At a time when nonrenewable energy sources are depleting faster than we are coming up with viable alternatives, we should be focused on developing statewide renewable energy resources and programs to reduce our consumptive dependence on fossil fuels. PCL applauds the Governor’s decision to withdraw support for Tranquillon Ridge and hopes to see other efforts to reduce offshore drilling in the future.