Thursday, March 12, 2009

Tranquillon Ridge: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

A couple of months ago, the unusual deal among local pols, oil interests, and environmental advocates that would have allowed new offshore drilling off of Santa Barbara, was killed by the sate. If you thought that was the last you would hear of it, you've got another think coming!

Timm Herdt's column in the Ventura County Star today reports on a major rift in the Democratic party that deal's demise has created.

Termed out Assemblyman Pedro Nava (who opposed Tranquillon Ridge) had a plan to engineer the transfer of his seat to his wife Susan Jordan. But influential environmentalists in the area, who bought into the Tranquillon Ridge deal after much soul searching and not a little risk, are not happy.

Enter Santa Barbara Councilman Das Williams was a Jordan supporter. Williams has opened an exploratory committee to look into a run against Jordan for Nava's Assembly seat.

Herdt notes:

"An immediate effect of the split is the decision by Santa Barbara City Councilman Das Williams to open an exploratory committee to run for the 35th Assembly District. Williams had previously pledged to endorse Susan Jordan, the wife of termed-out incumbent Pedro Nava.

Nava and Jordan opposed the deal, which would have allowed the first new drilling in the Santa Barbara Channel in 40 years in exchange for the oil company’s agreement to virtually shut down all oil production off the Santa Barbara coast by 2022 and close the oil processing facility in Gaviota.

The agreement was enthusiastically supported by such longtime anti-oil crusaders as the Environmental Defense Center and Get Oil Out, which saw it as the realization of their decades-long dream of ridding Santa Barbara of offshore oil rigs once and for all."

Another name being bandied about is Ventura City Councilman Bill Fulton.

Who ever would have thought that drilling for oil off the coast of Santa Barbara would have the issue that kept the Democratic party together?