Gov. Schwarzenegger Reverses: No New Offshore Drilling in CA

The spill changed his mind

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California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has decided he doesn't want drilling off the coast of Santa Barbara after all. "I see on TV the birds drenched in oil, the fishermen out of work, the massive oil spill, oil slick destroying our precious ecosystem," the Los Angeles Times reports him as saying. "It will not happen here in California." Environmentalists are applauding the move, and hoping other politicians follow suit. But in the midst of California's budget crisis some are wondering: is halting offshore drilling really a reasonable response to the spill?

  • New Offshore Drilling Probably Done-for in CA, observes The Los Angeles Times editorial board, pointing out that the "prime contenders for Schwarzenegger's job" also say they oppose new drilling. "If President Obama and key members of Congress come to similar conclusions, the tragedy unfolding off the coast of Louisiana could have some positive outcomes."
  • 'Now All Eyes Are on Washington,' writes Chris Santiago for, hoping Obama follows suit. Regarding the Schwarzenegger decision specifically, he says: "I'm sure I'm not alone in applauding Schwarzenegger's backpedaling, but let's not forget that this did happen in California, and in the Santa Barbara Channel, in fact." He cites the spill in 1969.
  • Responsibility Is Refreshing That's the positive--and not entirely surprising--reaction from Keith Harrington at environmentalist site Grist. "From President Obama's reluctance to reverse his decision to expand offshore drilling, to BP's shameless attempts to play the innocent victim card, and the far right's attempts to pin the blame on environmentalists, responsible words and actions have been in short supply."
  • U.S. Can't Halt Offshore Drilling Entirely "The U.S. will need offshore oil," Time's Bryan Walsh reminds readers, "certainly from the Gulf of Mexico, which is responsible for about a third of U.S. production, but perhaps eventually from other regions as well. If we don't take that oil from our own waters, we will be buying it from abroad--potentially from countries that have much more lax environmental standards." He also points out that ditching offshore drilling could wind up harming "comprehensive climate and energy legislation" overall, given that "expanded drilling was offered in part to sweeten climate and energy legislation for skeptical conservatives.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.