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Oil Drilling Off the Coast

December 27, 1985

While other Californians may have been surprised that Gov. George Deukmejian would have waited until a crucial juncture before urging Congress to abandon its moratorium on off-shore drilling in the state, we here on the Central Coast had been witness to the same tactic in August of 1984.

At that time, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington issued an order blocking Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant from operating pending a review of safety issues. In the aftermath, first the Justice Department and then Gov. Deukmejian urged that the stay be lifted. In the governor's case, he had heretofore withheld judgment about the plant, saying he, too, had concerns about the plant's safety. But now, at a crucial moment, he took the unprecedented step of urging Chief Justice Warren Burger to vacate the stay and allow the plant to operate!

In both the Diablo Canyon and off-shore moratorium cases, the Governor played the role of the reasonable official who was the man in the middle. And in both instances he waited until the last possible moment--in one case then urging that a controversial nuclear power plant be allowed to operate, in the other to plead for the end of the off-shore oil moratorium.

In both his last-minute-for-maximum-effect tactics and his environmental stands, the Governor's conduct has been shameful. Governor Deukmejian thrives on low visibility. His roles in Diablo Canyon and off-shore oil exploration, however, are not likely to be forgotten.

RICHARD KRANZDORF

San Louis Obispo

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