Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Back In Character

Things appear to be getting back to normal in Santa Barbara where the newly consituted count Board of Supervisors has reiterated its opposition to offshore drilling. Recall that last year, with the apparent consent of the supes, a Texas company cut a deal with environmental groups to drill at Tranquillon Ridge.

State regulators utltimately killed the project but it sent ripples through the local Democratic party and put Santa Barbara-- the very cradle of eco-consciousness-- in the odd position of being lumped in with the "drill baby drill" crowd.

After the November elections, seats changed hands and the Board is once again back on the environmental straight and narrow.

Steve Chawkins, writing in the Los Angeles Times describes the situation:

"But now the board's majority has shifted from Republican to Democratic, the Obama administration has taken over in Washington, and the price of crude oil has plunged from nearly $150 a barrel last summer to about $52 a barrel on Monday. With an Interior Department hearing on offshore drilling planned next week in San Francisco, the supervisors are to consider a resolution urging a ban on new offshore drilling.

"It's definitely a reversal," said Supervisor Janet Wolf. "It became politically charged to point to our county as a place that was willing to take another look at offshore drilling. Now we're saying no, that's not the case.""

On a somewhat related note, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who is conducting a series of public meetings around the country to discuss the issue of offshore drilling, got crushed in Atlantic City, NJ yesterday by drilling opponents.