Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

California Governor OKs Permanent Ban on Offshore Drilling

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

California Governor OKs Permanent Ban on Offshore Drilling

Article excerpt

SACRAMENTO, Calif. _ In a long-sought victory for environmentalists and many coastal communities, Gov. Pete Wilson signed a bill to permanently ban oil drilling in the waters off California's 840-mile coastline.

Currently, limits on drilling off the coast are a confusing hodgepodge. Some coastal areas are protected by permanent bans. Others are covered with temporary ones.

"California's coast is a treasure that attracts people from around the globe," said the governor. "It deserves permanent protection from possible damage associated with future offshore oil and gas activities."

Wilson's action was not unexpected. He has been a longtime opponent of drilling off the coast, both as a U.S. senator and as governor.

The bill was authored by Assemblyman Jack O'Connell, a Democrat whose district includes Santa Barbara, where offshore drilling platforms dot the coastal waters.

"This has been a long time in coming," said O'Connell. "It clearly sends a signal our coastline is not for sale, and this is in the best interests of our tourism community, the fishing industry and our environment."

The new law forbids future drilling only in the three miles of water off the coast under state control.

However, a ban was placed on the sale of oil and gas leases in federal waters off California by President George Bush in 1992. Waters under federal jurisdiction extend from three miles to 200 miles offshore.

The September 1992 dedication of the federal Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary also protected a large swath of federal waters from future drilling. The sanctuary covers 5,312 square miles of ocean and stretches along more than 360 miles of California's coast.

A temporary offshore drilling ban in state-controlled waters is already in effect from San Simeon to the Oregon border, under a law signed by Wilson in 1992. …

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