The California State Lands Commission denied the first new oil drilling lease in 40 years, ending a much-hoped for energy project off Santa Barbara.
No one should be surprised, but here’s a noteworthy back story.
Amid last summer’s $4/gallon gasoline crisis, Andrew Cline enthused in a July 12, 2008 Wall Street Journal op-ed about how an oil exploration company reached an agreement with Green activist groups to permit drilling off the coast of Santa Barbara, California — the first new wells since the January 1969 oil spill in that area.
“When an environmental group formed for the sole purpose of opposing offshore oil drilling warmly embraces a plan to drill off its own coast, you know something important has changed in our culture; Americans have recognized that offshore drilling is largely safe.”
But less than a week later, the greens wrote the Journal to correct the record. The greens’ attorney who negotiated the deal wrote,
“[T]o be accurate, the [op-ed’s] title should have read “Environmentalists Secure End to Oil Development… The agreement struck… is remarkable because it sets a fixed date for the termination of existing offshore and onshore oil production facilities in Santa Barbara County. Without the agreement, this oil development could continue indefinitely, for decades to come. With the agreement, significant oil production facilities will be shut down in the next several years… We see this agreement as a direct complement to our support for the federal oil moratorium. Just as we need to say “no” to new oil development, we must put an end to existing development if we are to protect our coast from the risks of offshore oil and gas development, and protect society from climate change… environmentalists support actions that move away from, not toward, dependence on fossil fuels…
Then on August 27, 2008, the Journal reported that,
The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to support increased oil production off its coast, a move supporters hope will add to growing pressure to lift bans on offshore drilling.
But in the end, the greens — via the State Lands Commission — won.
Moral of the story: trusting the greens is shear folly.