As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Burton Demands "No" Vote On Offshore Drilling In The Budget

This is a big deal. John Burton just sent out an action alert to CDP delegates and supporters urging them to vote AGAINST an element of the budget negotiated by the Democratic leadership. Specifically, he wants the offshore drilling at Tranquillon Ridge voted down.

As you may have heard, legislative leaders and the governor have reached a tentative budget deal that the Senate and Assembly could vote on as soon as tomorrow.

One part of the package is a Republican-written bill that would allow offshore drilling in state-controlled waters off California’s coast for the first time since the devastating 1969 oil spill off the Santa Barbara coast. This proposal is an affront to all Californians and we must urge lawmakers to vote it down.
This sweetheart deal for one oil company was negotiated behind closed doors, without any legislative hearings to allow public comment.

It strips the State Lands Commission – which has approved or rejected oil leases for the past 150 years – of this power and gives it to a commission controlled by the governor’s administration. This commission would have unlimited authority to rewrite the lease to benefit the oil company.

The offshore drilling plan does not solve either this year’s budget problems or systemic problems. That’s because its promises of future revenue are not actually written into law.

This Republican offshore drilling scheme endangers California’s environment. It would further pad the pockets of oil executives. And it does virtually nothing to solve the state’s current or future budget problems.

Ironically, the same Republican legislators who support this sweetheart deal are the ones who refused to vote for our Democratic leaders’ proposal for an oil-severance tax like the one levied in every other oil-producing state.

Please call your local lawmaker and urge him or her to say NO to new offshore drilling. Say NO to jeopardizing our coastline for minimal budget help this year or in the future.

At the end of the email, Burton reminds readers that these kind of backroom deals are part of why "it’s so important to have a majority-vote budget in California so Republicans cannot hijack the budget process to make bad policy changes that are extraneous to the state budget." A-men to that, but tell it to the Democratic leaders who helped negotiate this.

Karen Bass was asked today by reporters why the offshore drilling bill was included in the budget agreement, and she replied, "It comes down to $100 million dollars." Apparently you can put a price on despoiling the coastline and destroying the environment. Turns out it's 1/880th of total budgetary spending.

It's good to see the Chairman of the CDP picking up on a campaign by the Courage Campaign and amplifying it. The offshore drilling plan will be considered in a separate trailer bill. It can be defeated.

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