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California Briefing / SANTA BARBARA

Council opposes offshore drilling

September 11, 2008|Steve Chawkins

With offshore oil drilling emerging as a hot issue in the presidential campaign, the City Council on Tuesday night reaffirmed its opposition to drilling along the coastline where a 1969 spill gave rise to the Environmental Protection Agency and the modern environmental movement.

The action was designed to counter an Aug. 26 vote by Santa Barbara County supervisors urging Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to rethink his stance against offshore drilling.

Concerned by high gas prices and low county revenue, the divided supervisors made national headlines and triggered the city's show of support for long-established state and federal bans on additional drilling off the coast.

The city measure is symbolic, because it has no authority over offshore drilling. But with Santa Barbara's reputation for environmental activism at stake, city officials did not want the county's measure to go unchallenged.

"Like it or not, we're at the eye of the storm when it comes to energy policy in the U.S.," said Councilwoman Helene Schneider.

-- Steve Chawkins

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