Monday, June 29, 2009

Floridians resist offshore drilling

Bracing for another confrontation over offshore drilling, 24 of the 27 Florida members of Congress are urging House and Senate leaders to help block the spread of oil-and-gas rigs along the state’s west coast.

The Florida response is surprising only because it includes all but three members, a sign of near-unity on offshore drilling that has been elusive in recent months.

Florida’s once-solid opposition to expanded drilling fragmented during last year’s presidential campaign, when gas prices were high and Republican rallies chanted ``Drill, baby, dill!’’

A letter sent to congressional leaders – dated Friday but released today -- from Florida’s two senators and 22 of its 25 House members stresses the argument that drilling in the eastern Gulf would jeopardize military training exercises from bases in the Florida Panhandle.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Democrats Behind Latest Drive For Drilling

This weeks "flaming rig award" goes to Democratic Sens. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico for their proposal that would allow drilling 45 miles from most of the Gulf Coast, and as close as 10 miles in the Florida Panhandle.

Drilling in the Gulf would likely not have an impact on domestic gas prices until the year 2030 at the earliest, according to the U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Administration

The Department of Interior estimates that the eastern Gulf could provide up to 3.88 billion barrels.

The U.S. consumes more than 7.5 billion barrels a year.


For another perspective from an experienced oil spill responder (and retired military), read this.

Monday, June 22, 2009

New Jersey Takes a Stand Against Offshore Oil Drilling

On June 18 the New Jersey state Assembly collectively stated its opposition to drilling for oil and natural gas in waters off New Jersey coastline and others nationwide.

The 51-19 vote approved a resolution against provisions included in a federal energy bill that would require exploration for oil and gas off the coast of Alaska and in the Gulf of Mexico and increase domestic production of offshore oil and gas 45 miles or further from the east coast of the Gulf.

It also encourages federal lawmakers to renew the recently-expired, 28-year moratorium on exploration for oil and natural gas in the Outer Continental Shelf. That zone includes ocean waters off the East Coast and Alaska, as well as the Green River Basin in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, according to text of AR147.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Oil industry cranks up lobbying effort

The oil industry spent $44.5 million lobbying Congress and federal agencies in the first three months of this year, on pace to shatter last year's record. Only the drug industry spent more.... To a degree, the investment appears to be paying off.

Read the whole thing here...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Budget Conference Committee Doesn’t Consider Governor’s Scheme to Expand Offshore Oil Drilling

This just in from Pedro Nava's office:

June 17th, 2009

Budget Conference Committee Doesn’t Consider Governor’s Scheme to Expand Offshore Oil Drilling

Sacramento- The Budget Conference Committee rejected the Governor's attempt to undermine the State Lands Commission offshore oil leasing authority. New offshore oil drilling was not included in the final recommendations. Congratulations to the environmental coalition that worked tirelessly to save our coast from the first new offshore oil drilling lease since the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill.

“For over 40 years, Californians have not allowed a single new oil lease off our coast, and the State Lands Commission has protected us from this risk,” Said Terry O’Day of Environment Now, “Undermining the Commission’s independence is wrong for this project, for this budget crisis, and for our future.”

I had the pleasure of working with Sierra Club California, Surfrider Foundation, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Environment Now, Environment California and others in defeating the Governor's proposal.

“Sierra Club California applauds the Conference Committee’s decision to keep new offshore oil drilling out of its budget-balancing proposal. We will continue to work with Assemblymember Nava and other coastal defenders to oppose efforts to overturn the State Lands Commission’s denial of the PXP proposal,” said Bill Magavern, Director of Sierra Club California.

It was especially important to beat this bad deal because Interior Secretary Salazar is right now writing new offshore oil lease proposals for the nation. Any new drilling in California sends the wrong message to the federal government.

“At a time when new offshore drilling threatens our coasts around the nation, it is more important than ever to ensure that our decision making processes are sound, independent and resistant to tampering by special interests regardless of the circumstances,” says Surfrider Foundation’s Chad Nelsen.

Let's savor this victory, but for only a few moments. The issue of offshore oil drilling isn't dead yet. There is the possibility the Big 5 will try to revive this bad deal as part of budget negotiations. We still have work to do.

But for now, a big round of applause for those environmental champions who fought this battle and won.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Modest Proposal

What if there was an easily-implementable plan that would discourage offshore oil drilling, encourage development of alternative energy sources and make a sizeable dent in addressing California's budget problems? A pipe dream? Not at all.

Read more.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Massive Opposition To Schwarzenegger's Oil Drilling End Run

There is massive opposition to Governor Schwarzenegger's plan to override the State Lands Commission and allow oil drilling off of Santa Barbara as part of last minute budget stop gap.

State Lands Commission Resolution in opposition

Political Letters of Opposition:

Senator Barbara Boxer's Letter of Opposition

Environmental Group Letters in Opposition:

Defenders of Wildlife Opposition

Environmental Defense Center Opposition

Nine Environmental Organization Group Letter in Opposition

Sierra Club Opposition

Surfrider Foundation Opposition

Editorials in Opposition:

Los Angeles Times Opposition Editorial

San Francisco Chronicle Opposition Editorial

Ventura Star Opposition Editorial

Other New stories:

Calbuzz story describing 1938 Director of Finance scandal resulting in the creation of the State Lands Commission to over see on oil & gas leasing

Capitol Weekly story describing end run around State Lands Commission

Earlier posts on issue:

Lt. Governor Garamendi's opposition & Facebook page

Facebook Page

Hypocrisy, Thy Name is Arnold

Governor’s Oil Actions Threaten California Coastline

Subverting the State Lands Commission is Not the Answer

Offshore oil and gas rigs could move dramatically closer to Florida's coastline

(Pardon the photo quality - iPhone photo of borrowed map from reporter while in hearing room)

This just in from Richard Charter:

Dark blue area on this map protected by GOMESA til 2022 by bipartisan compromise was blown away by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee vote, leaving only the red areas extending only 45 miles from shore still protected.

Not shown on this map, additional area opened by today's Senate ENR vote on Destin Dome, only 9 to 25 miles off of Pensacola.

The minimal 45-mile coastal buffer zone remaining after today's vote likely subject to further erosion in future sessions of Congress.

This vote in Committee would allow drilling rigs within the only offshore US live-fire military aircraft training range. No state OCS revenue-sharing was adopted.

This will go down in history as "Let's Break a Deal", and is expected to likely become the poison pill that kills the entire Obama energy bill in the Senate.

Miami Herald: Senate looks to shrink Florida's no-drilling zones

NY Times: Senate Panel OKs Expanded Oil and Gas Leasing in Eastern Gulf

Oceana Sounds off: Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling, Threatening Florida's Gulf Coast

Senate looks to shrink no-drilling zones protections


Offshore oil and gas rigs could move dramatically closer to Florida's coastline -- nearly within sight of pristine Panhandle beaches -- under a provision approved Tuesday by a key Senate panel.

The amendment, tacked onto a massive energy bill in Congress, would renege on a compromise won by Florida lawmakers just three years ago and radically reduce no-drilling zones in the eastern Gulf of Mexico -- from 125 miles down to 10 miles off the Panhandle and from 235 miles down to 45 miles off Tampa and coastal communities to the south.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., vowed to fight the move with a filibuster if necessary.

''We're just simply not going to let this happen,'' Nelson told reporters after the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee passed a provision proposed by Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D.

Environmentalists said the move would break the 2006 deal crafted by Florida's congressional delegation, which agreed to open about 8 million acres of the east-central Gulf to oil and gas development in exchange for putting a massive swath of federal waters closer to the state off-limits until at least 2022.

For the full story go to

Friday, June 5, 2009

Hypocrisy, Thy Name is Arnold

This coming Monday, June 8 is World Ocean Day. So, in honor of the event, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued the following statement:

“California's tremendous ocean and coastline are important to our environment and our economy, and every year on Ocean Day, people around the globe reflect on the many benefits the ocean provides. I encourage all Californians to take part in the Thank You Ocean campaign, which reminds us why protecting the ocean for future generations is so important. Each of us can do something to make our beaches and oceans cleaner, safer and healthier.”

Here's something YOU can do, Arnold. You can drop your plan to sell out the California coast for oil drilling dollars! Or, as the LA Times put it:

"Admittedly, the state could use the money. But that's not a good enough reason to subvert the authority of the Lands Commission, sell California's coastline in exchange for empty promises, ignore the wishes of Santa Barbara residents and dismiss the outcome of a long process of analysis and public hearings."

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The hazards of offshore drilling threaten Florida

(This article was originally published on April 26, 2009 at

I am guessing that Florida Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, has never eyeballed a Gulf of Mexico oil or natural gas rig at water level, which is why she has blithely come out in favor of the last-minute House bill to allow offshore rigs as close as three miles off Florida's shores.

The proposal was pushed through committee this week by 16 Republican legislators, led by Rep. Dean Cannon, R-Orlando, and by one Democrat, Rep. Yolly Roberson of Fort Lauderdale.

Had Sen. Detert been within fishing-rod casting distance of one of the halogen-lit, 100-foot towers erected by Exxon, Shell or Chevron off the coast of neighboring Alabama, as I often have, she might be a little more worried about the safety, health and quality of life of her constituents.

For example, if she were to navigate toward any one of the fixed or floating oil platforms, she couldn't help but notice the 30-inch letters printed in graphic yellow and red: Danger: Poison — Hydrogen Sulfide Gas.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Efforts Being Made in Florida to Put Oil Drilling on the 2010 Ballot

TALLAHASSEE - A group of "activists" intend to launch a petition initiative to place the issue of offshore oil drilling before voters in 2010. plans to ask Florida voters to lift the state ban and kick-start a new offshore drilling industry for the state.

"The people have spoken loud and clear; they support this," said Don Baldauf of Bradenton, head of the small but growing, which has members and volunteers sprinkled across 10 counties.

Baldauf, who runs a small business installing security systems, mounted an unsuccessful run without party affiliation for the District 13 seat in Congress last year. Now he plans to ask voters in 2010 to lift Florida's 20-year ban on drilling in state waters, and mandate Florida build an offshore oil and gas industry. "Whatever it takes to start drilling and pumping," he said.

To read the entire article Click Here