San Diego County Supervisor Susan Golding on Tuesday backed off a bit from pushing for a proposal to ban onshore oil and gas facilities along the unincorporated coastline between Del Mar and Encinitas.
Instead, Golding said she will wait for advice from the county counsel before presenting a ballot proposal to ban onshore pipelines and refineries along the Cardiff, Leucadia, Solano Beach and Encinitas coastlines.
For the Record Intentions Misstated
Los Angeles Times Thursday May 8, 1986 San Diego County Edition Part 1 Page 2 Column 1 Metro Desk 1 inches; 34 words Type of Material: Correction
Because of an editing error, a story and headline in Wednesday's edition misstated Supervisor Susan Golding's position on land facilities in San Diego County for offshore oil drilling. Golding is continuing to push for a ban on such facilities.
San Diego City Council voted Monday to put on the November ballot a proposal to ban such facilities along the city's coastline, and Golding testified in support of the measure.
But on Tuesday, Golding said she questioned whether the Board of Supervisors has the authority to place such a measure on the November ballot or if the proposal should be enacted through an ordinance voted on by the board.
The measure would make it impossible for the county to issue permits for the construction, operation or maintenance of pipelines, refineries and other facilities that would be needed for offshore drilling. As a result, offshore drilling might become too expensive to oil companies seeking to explore the area under any federal leasing plan. "My original intent was to put it on the ballot and let the voters vote on a charter change," Golding said. "But the county doesn't have as many powers as the city, so I'm talking to the county counsel. It may have to be an ordinance rather than a charter change."
Either way, Golding said she would have a draft of the measure in two weeks. Golding said she does not anticipate any problem convincing the board to support the proposal, since the other supervisors have already endorsed a previous resolution by her to ban offshore oil drilling.
She said the measure is needed because the "federal and state governments are ignoring our position" on the issue.
"We need something with teeth in it," Golding said. ". . .The state and federal governments take all of the benefits of offshore drilling and none of the risks. A spill only affects the local community, which will be hurt by . . . the impact on the economy. We have absolutely no direct (financial) benefit. There is no sharing of offshore revenues."
Golding said that even if the county received a share of tideland revenues, she would still be opposed to offshore drilling because of its impact on the environment.
"We are already in violation of air-quality standards. The Interior Department is saying build rigs, but EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is saying we are already out of line with air quality standards," she said.
When she testified before City Council, Golding said that a 1983 federal environmental impact report showed that one oil platform off Oceanside would increase ozone along the coast by three parts per 100 million, about 25% of the allowable level.
Meanwhile, the board voted Tuesday to send a letter to the Department of the Interior criticizing a draft Environmental Impact Statement done on a proposed five-year oil and gas lease plan for California tidelands. The department examined the potential environmental impact on the California coast that these plans would have between 1987 and 1991.
The letter complained that the department's draft offers a general discussion of the Outer Continental Shelf development in California "and does not evaluate . . . specific impacts associated with San Diego County." It also reaffirmed the board's opposition to offshore drilling off the San Diego coast.
In an apparent reference to the local ocean tracts' sparse oil reserves, the letter said that "it makes no sense to continue the costly process of studying areas which have already proven not to warrant lease sale development." Henry W. Wright, exploration manager of the Los Angeles-based Western Oil & Gas Assn., told the City Council Monday that the industry has already drilled 10 dry holes off San Clemente.
The letter also expressed Golding's environmental concerns about offshore drilling. Ozone levels in the county occasionally exceed national air-quality standards and supervisors fear that drilling may worsen the county's air pollution problem.
Finally, the letter also referred to possible "conflicts" that may arise if the Navy is forced to share ocean waters with dozens of drilling platforms.