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

4 comments

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  1. Jack Eidt
    Jack Eidt 8 February, 2010, 08:58

    Energy independence is a meme that will never be achieved, most certainly from drilling offshore in the California Coastal Sanctuary. For 2009, 13.3 million barrels of oil were pumped from the 27 leases under operations in the Santa Barbara Channel; the United States consumes 20.7 million barrels of oil per day. Drilling here will not affect energy independence, only pay debt service to our fossil fuel addiction. We need to invest TODAY in alternatives to this finite resource that creates significant risk to coastal economies and ecosystems, then pollutes the skies and fouls the climate.

    To claim that offshore drilling will balance our budget is also far off the mark. The tranquillon Ridge project will add $100 million to the books this year and $119 million next year — enough to finance state parks. Does anyone get the cnical political ploy, holding state parks hostage to offshore drilling?

    Balance the budget with oil revenues? What an idea. How about approving an oil severence tax in California? Seems to work fine in all the other oil producing states (AK, TX, FL, LA) but here.

    This article is also sadly misinformed about the risk of oil spills. In the short term, drilling 30 new slant wells will create significant amounts of toxic drilling muds, eroding the sea beds, and damaging fisheries. In the long-term, our coast will face the risk of blowouts and spills that happen regularly — in fact, last year there was one right around the 40th anniversary of the original SB Channel tragedy. And what about the high-technology Montara Field spill off West Australia that spewed thousands of barrels of oil per day into the pristine South Timor Sea for almost three months? Had that spill happened off Santa Barbara their economy would be ruined. Would the money offered to the state pay for that clean-up? And the spills off the Louisiana Coast after Katrina were significant and damaging to aquatic ecosystems, fisheries and tourism, but maybe the oil industry left out that detail in their fact sheets published here.

    The PXP-EDC deal for Tranquillon Ridge is not enforceable by the state and will not end offshore drilling, only encourage it everywhere, as this author so clearly cheerleads. Our oil reserves should be kept as just that — reserved. They will not be drained by the Interior Deptartment as is claimed. The drainage taken up by Platform Irene is not significant. Not even the lands offered as mitigation are clearly going to be transferred. As a member of the over 100 groups that oppose this deal, we demand renewable energy proposals to solve our fossil fuel addiction and coming climate calamity. And an oil severence tax o solve our budget crisis.

    Jack Eidt
    Wild Heritage Planners

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  2. StevefromSacto
    StevefromSacto 8 February, 2010, 11:45

    “Balance the budget with oil revenues? What an idea. How about approving an oil severence tax in California? Seems to work fine in all the other oil producing states (AK, TX, FL, LA) but here.”

    Jack, you don’t understand do you? The goal of the Rabid Right is not to balance the budget or bring about energy independence. It is to “shrink the size of government so we can drown it in the bathtub.”

    That’s why the Right refuses to support anything that will provide the state with new sources of revenue.

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  3. Harvey Cohon
    Harvey Cohon 9 February, 2010, 21:00

    In Ohio and West Virginia the land owners get 12.5 percent of the gross of any well on their property. California, we, would get less than 4 percent. The biggest problem one has when drilling is to get rid of the brine fouled millions of gallons of water used in fracking. Pennsylvania requires it to be cleaned at a cost of $6.00 a barrel. Ohio lets it be put in underground caverns. I have never heard of what is done with the brackish water from the platforms. Maybe I don’t want to hear.
    By the way, any barrel of oil (43 gallons) contains 19 gallons of land tranportation fuel.
    This is from a fear-mongering environmentalist extremist.

    Reply this comment
  4. Politica_Battles
    Politica_Battles 2 March, 2010, 21:58

    A Real Chance : 3/1/2010

    Anyone who still believes the PXP/GOO/CPA/EDC deal is unenforceable and somehow helps oil companies has their head in the sand. Let’s hope Nava and Jordan open their eyes and help end offshore oil drilling.

    http://www.independent.com/news/2010/mar/01/pxp-and-edc-grand-plan/

    Under current law, oil companies have the right to drill without any end dates. Ineffective groups like Wild Heritage have kept long-term offshore oil drilling alive and well but the tide a finally appears to be turning as more legislatures realize the uniqueness of this deal to end off-shore oil drilling. The fears that this deal will create new drilling elsewhere are being put to rest. Also big oil companies like BP and Chevron are attempting to kill this deal in Sacramento. No surprise.

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