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Lawmaker Urges Ban on Offshore Drilling

April 14, 1999|MASSIE RITSCH

Assemblywoman Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) has introduced a resolution calling on President Clinton and Congress to impose a permanent ban on new oil drilling off California's coast.

Also, two of Jackson's environmental bills--one requiring offshore oil to move through pipelines and the other on testing runoff pollution--have passed through the natural resources committee.

The resolution, Jackson's first since taking office last year, implores Clinton and Congress to pass legislation that forever bans new drilling in the federal waters off California's coast. State law already prohibits drilling in state-controlled waters.

In 1992, George Bush, by executive order, issued a moratorium on new offshore oil leases. Clinton extended the moratorium until 2012. Thirty-two oil platforms are now in operation off California's coast, with potential for an additional 40 to be developed under existing leases. Jackson's resolution urges the expiration of those leases and the prohibition of drilling in 87 unleased tracts not now covered by the federal moratorium.

Assembly Bill 1280 is intended to reduce the risk of catastrophic oil tanker spills by requiring that all oil extracted from the sea be transported to onshore facilities by pipeline. It would apply to all current and future offshore oil operations.

By outlawing use of tankers, Jackson said, the cause of two-thirds of recent catastrophic oil spills would be removed.

Still, she said, "The best way to protect the coast from oil spills is not to have any drilling."

The bill passed through the natural resources panel on Monday and is headed for the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Jackson, who represents Ventura, Santa Paula, Ojai and most of Santa Barbara County, is a member of the natural resources committee.

Assembly Bill 604, another Jackson proposal, also heads to appropriations after passing natural resources on Monday. The bill would establish acceptable levels of pollution in water runoff and strategies aimed at eliminating, or at least reducing, that pollution.

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