Thursday, July 30, 2009

Facing an 0-2 Count on Tranquillon Ridge

Can I take my mulligan now?

Say what you will about offshore drilling, but the political football that is Tranquillon Ridge is starting to become downright entertaining. I don't know how many times we can guess wrong on this project, but it appears that we've done so again!

Last week we posted that, as part of the budget deal hammered out in Sacramento, T-Ridge was a done deal. Take it to the bank. Even the man on the street spoke favorably of it. Then it was voted down in the Assembly in that frantic Friday session. Strike one!

Then, yesterday we noted that PXP put out something of a "sour grapes" press release in which it vowed to press forward with T-Ridge because the Assembly had (I'm paraphrasing here...), to borrow the President's now imfamouse phrase, ACTED STUPIDLY. That post closed with the not-so-presceint rhetorical question, "you have to wonder just how many lives this cat has?"

Well today, CalBuzz reports that a new PPIC poll shows overwhelming public support for the project and its prospects are likely greatly improved. Strike two!

According to CalBuzz:

"A PPIC survey released late Wednesday shows that 55 percent of likely voters support more oil drilling off the coast, compared to 41 percent who oppose it. Among all adults, the gap is narrower — 51-to-43 percent in favor — although this is the second year in a row that PPIC found majority backing for more drilling, which previously was a long-settled issue in the state."

What's next? We're officially out of the T-Ridge prediction business, but CalBuzz includes the following in its write-up:

"The project could return in several venues. Speaker Karen Bass said in a statement after the budget vote that the project “could be reconsidered in August.” Although Bass’s press office failed to return calls seeking clarification about exactly what this meant, it is possible the project could return in a standalone bill. With state revenues continuing to plunge, the project might also be resurrected yet again if the governor and Legislature have to craft another deficit cutting package in the fall or winter.

And as leaders of Santa Barbara’s Environmental Defense Center work to address the problems with the project cited by the State Lands Commission in January – specifically the enforceability of PXP promises to permanently end offshore drilling on four federal platforms in exchange for the state lease – the possibility that Schwarzenegger could name a replacement for Garamendi would be crucial."