A ban on the processing, transportation or storage of oil or gas obtained from off the coast of San Diego County was approved narrowly Tuesday by the county Board of Supervisors.
The ban, intended to discourage offshore oil and gas drilling, will affect only the unincorporated areas over which the board has control.
Supervisor Susan Golding proposed the ban in May, when she suggested that county voters be asked to approve the action and place it permanently in the county charter or in county codes.
But Golding lacked the three votes needed on the Board of Supervisors to put the issue before the voters, so she opted Tuesday for an ordinance, which could be changed at any time by a majority vote of the board.
Supervisor George Bailey questioned the value of Golding's ordinance now that communities on the North County coast have voted to incorporate into the cities of Solana Beach and Encinitas, leaving the county with no coastline under its control.
Bailey and Supervisors Paul Eckert and Brian Bilbray had voted against placing the measure on the November ballot. Supervisor Leon Williams supported Golding.
"I think this is ridiculous," Bailey said Tuesday. "We have no shoreline. It will not accomplish one blooming thing."
Bailey and Eckert argued that the county should pursue the issue of offshore oil drilling directly rather than by regulating what oil companies can do onshore.
Eckert has said the county should compile economic statistics proving that air pollution from oil drilling could endanger the creation of jobs on land because the Environmental Protection Agency could decide to halt industrial development.
Bilbray said he voted against placing the measure on the ballot because such a move would cost the county $70,000. But he voted with Golding and Williams to adopt the rule as an ordinance.
The ordinance will be placed in a section of the county's administrative code involving the powers of government officials.
It reads: "No county officer, employee, board or commission shall directly or indirectly authorize or permit anywhere in the unincorporated area of the county the construction, operation or maintenance of any facility, including pipelines, used to transport, process, store or refine crude oil or natural gas which was obtained from offshore oil or natural gas drilling or pumping operations within 100 nautical miles of the coastline of the County of San Diego."