Drill here, drill now

Feb. 3, 2010

Drilling for oil off of California’s legendary coastline is a topic that polarizes the critics of offshore drilling, and the proponents.

In Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s final budget he has proposed offshore oil drilling in Santa Barbara County that will allow the first new oil drilling in state waters in over 40 years.

California has an opportunity right now to help solve the budget crisis without raising taxes, as well as working toward becoming an energy independent state, by drilling the rich reserves in the California territorial waters – before the federal Interior Department lays claim to the California’s oil and we lose billions of dollars in future revenue.

The California territorial waters are located within the three-miles off the coast. We can access the leases to these areas right now, and raise substantial revenue through the royalties.

There is $1 trillion total worth of oil off of California’s coast, with $100 billion of that located specifically within the territorial waters. California stands to realize at least $20-$24 billion of income – from our own oil, if we can get our legislators to stop kowtowing to extremist special interest environmental groups and do the right thing for California. Revenues from California’s rich oil reserves could wipe out our deficit.

The 40-year old Santa Barbara oil spill is the primary emotional tool used by fear-mongering environmentalist extremists, and as a prevention measure for oil exploration and drilling. However, in the past 40 years, technology has abounded, and not just in our iphones, laptops and televisions. Oil drilling has also evolved. According to an Investors Business Daily editorial, Brazil, Britain, Norway and others drill safely offshore, as well as no major spills recorded when Hurricanes Katrina and Rita roared through some 3,050 offshore oil and gas platforms operating in the Gulf of Mexico, with 168 platforms and 55 rigs destroyed or damaged by Katrina and Rita. According to the U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS), “due to the prompt evacuation and shut-in preparations made by operating and service personnel, there was no loss of life and no major spills attributed to either storm.”

Drilling technologies and the oil industry’s track record in the Gulf of Mexico has been 99.9 percent clean drilling since 1975, and clearly demonstrates that offshore drilling for oil is safer than ever.

A Rasmussen survey in June of 2008 found 67 percent of voters in favor of drilling off the coasts of California, Florida and other states, and 64 percent believing gas prices would drop as a result. A Zogby poll found that 74 percent want offshore drilling in U.S. waters.

Blame for high oil prices in America rest squarely in the laps of congressional Democrats, and sadly, the highest gas taxes in the nation, are right here in California – also the fault of liberal Democratic legislators.

Kenneth Rogoff, a Harvard University economics professor and former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, explained, “The price of oil rising even from $80 to $100 a barrel is like adding $150 billion in taxes.”

California has a golden opportunity to solve the budget deficit while contributing substantially to America’s energy independence – but only if we start drilling for oil off California’s coast once again.

–Katy Grimes

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