Defending the Defenders

What the heck is going on around here? Somehow, the stalwarts who have fought to protect our community from environmental devastation in general, and oil company rape in particular, are being accused of sleeping with the enemy??!! [Capitol Letters, “People’s Politics,” 1/28/2010,] The Environmental Defense Center and Linda Krop have been negotiating an agreement with PXP (oil company—Boo! Hiss!) and some politicians have accused them of being Benedict Arnolds. Have EDC and LK really sold out? Or do the facts tell a different story?

For many years, anti-oil activists have been concerned about an end to oil drilling, not just stopping new leases. There have been no agreements about how and when the drilling will stop, what will happen to the equipment the companies have installed—both onshore and offshore—in short, about how we reclaim our coast. The agreement that EDC has been working on would:

Have a drilling termination date (which does not now exist for any company)

Remove all drilling and processing equipment, both on- and offshore, after that date

Donate to the public the land housing the onshore facilities

Mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from the drilling activity

Pay to the state millions of dollars in royalties—for the first time in California

Be enforceable by having the company forfeit its profits until the terms of the contract are fulfilled

Now why would any true-blue Santa Barbaran be against that? Politics makes not only strange bedfellows but threatens to give opportunism a bad name. C’mon folks—let’s remember who and what the real enemies are. — Mickey Flacks

* * *

Let’s stop the hype and inflammatory allegations against our friends and long-time heroes of the environment—the Environmental Defense Center. Let’s not let dishonest political opportunists get away with using this issue for their own political gain.

Let’s just get to the facts.

This proposal will put an end to offshore oil drilling by:

Obtaining an enforceable, clear termination date for the four wells presently sitting right outside state waters in federal waters. The federal moratorium was just lifted—after further protecting our coastline for 30 years. If we don’t make it clear to the country that we’re about ending these leases and removing this junk from our beautiful coast, we’ll be seeing more and more drilling.

Requiring PXP to decommission its wells and dismantle its on-shore facilities so its infrastructure won’t be available for any new leases.

Giving over to the public trust approximately 3,900 acres of land, which includes the land on which the on-shore facilities presently operate.

Obtaining greenhouse gas mitigation from their drilling.

Obtaining hundreds of millions of dollars for the county and state from PXP’s profits.

Now let’s see what happens if we do nothing:

Oil-drilling continues off our coast indefinitely.

New drilling becomes a real threat.

The oil company will continue to own the 3,900 acres as long as they want.

There are no greenhouse gas mitigations.

No money comes to the state.

They drill into state waters anyway, using slant drilling and other new technologies and for as long as they want.

Without this proposal being approved, we’ll be seeing more and more platforms, drilling, and environmental degradation for years ahead. I hope we’re smarter than that, than the misrepresentations and dishonesty of a few who are politically motivated in their efforts to run for political office.

Thank you EDC and GOO [Get Oil Out] and Citizen’s Planning Association for your vision and your courage. Thank you for working so hard to end off-shore oil drilling.—Steve Dunn, Citizen’s Planning Association board president


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