Schwarzenegger pulls backing for California offshore drilling

Sacramento BeeMay 3, 2010 

Santa Barbara, Calif, oil slick area, 03/21/1969


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger withdrew his support Monday for a controversial new offshore oil drilling project off the Santa Barbara coast in the wake of a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Republican governor for two straight years has pushed the Tranquillon Ridge project as a way to raise money for California's strapped budget. In his January plan, Schwarzenegger sought to raise $119 million in 2010-11 and $1.8 billion over 14 years by allowing a company to drill into California waters from an existing oil platform in federal territory.

"I think that first of all, it's clear that we have to make up that $100 million a year that we (would) make from that," he said. "But 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."

The plan drew sharp criticism from environmentalists, who raised the specter of another disaster comparable to one that occurred in 1969 in which oil from a spill drifted on to beaches in Santa Barbara.

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