PART 1 - Big Oil money defeated bill to ban drilling in marine protected area

By Dan Bacher | September 21, 2014 |  Only in a Big Oil state like California would an oil industry lobbyist chair a task forc...

By Dan Bacher | September 21, 2014 | 

Only in a Big Oil state like California would an oil industry lobbyist chair a task force to create so-called “marine protected areas” – and then strongly oppose a bill to ban oil drilling in a "marine protected area." 

Only in a Big Oil state like California would a Legislator have to author a bill to ban offshore oil drilling in a "marine protected area." 

And only in a Big Oil state like California would the Legislature vote against a bill to stop oil drilling in a "marine protected area." 

That's right - State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson’s bill to ban offshore oil drilling from an area of state waters in the Santa Barbara Channel known as Tranquillon Ridge stalled on the Assembly Floor on the evening of August 26, effectively killing the bill for the year, due to massive opposition by the oil industry. 

The bill, SB 1096, would have protected the Vandenburg State Marine Reserve, created under the privately funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative, and the rest of the Tranquillon Ridge from offshore oil drilling plans. 

The vote was 29-36, according to Senator Jackson’s office. 

“If ever there were proof positive of big oil's stranglehold on the State of California, this is it,” said Joey Racano, Director of the Ocean Outfall Group. “Even our best attempt at providing some protections for our future fisheries and ecology swatted aside by big oil money and corrupt politicians. Another thing this proves is the reality of the military/industrial complex. Big oil is the US military, and the US military is big oil.” 

Ayes included Ammiano, Bloom, Bonta, Buchanan, Campos, Chau, Chesbro, Dababneh, Dickinson, Fong, Garcia, Gatto, Gomez, Gordon, Levine, Lowenthal, Mullin, Muratsuchi, Nazarian, Pan, John A. Pérez, V. Manuel Pérez, Rendon, Skinner, Stone, Ting, Wieckowski, Williams, Yamada and Atkins. 

Noes included Achadjian, Allen, Bigelow, Bocanegra, Bonilla, Chávez, Conway, Cooley, Dahle, Donnelly, Fox, Frazier, Beth Gaines, Gonzalez, Gorell, Gray, Grove, Hagman, Harkey, Jones, Linder, Logue, Maienschein, Mansoor, Medina, Melendez, Nestande, Olsen, Patterson, Perea, Quirk-Silva, Ridley-Thomas, Salas, Wagner, Waldron and Wilk. 

No Votes were recorded by Alejo, Bradford, Brown, Ian Calderon, Daly, Eggman, Hall, Roger Hernández, Holden, Jones-Sawyer, Quirk, Rodriguez and Weber. 

“I’m disappointed in what happened tonight, but remain committed to protecting this area of our Santa Barbara coastline from the impacts of new offshore oil drilling for the long haul,” said Jackson (D-Santa Barbara). “I will continue to pursue avenues to protect Tranquillon Ridge, which inspires us with its beauty and biological diversity, and helps drive our local economy with tourism and hospitality jobs and thousands of visitors to our area.” 

“I’m proud to be a co-author of SB 1096, because I believe that protecting our sensitive coastal habitat is of the utmost importance to our economy and our environment,” said Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Carpinteria). “I will continue to work with Senator Jackson to fight for those protections.” 

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