The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to oppose any drilling for oil off the county’s coast.
Characterizing a proposed congressional compromise as “giving away the store,” Supervisor Susan Golding offered--and her four colleagues quickly accepted--a resolution opposing lifting a moratorium on offshore oil exploration and drilling.
“As elected government officials, we must take a stand that we simply do not want it off our coast,” Golding said. “We have come this close in the past and we have won. I think we need to do it again. I think it’s too early to compromise.”
Under the tentative agreement reached between the state’s congressional delegation and U.S. Interior Department officials, 150 offshore tracts would be leased for exploration and drilling while 6,250 others would be protected until after the year 2000.
Supervisors Leon Williams and Paul Eckert offered their own provocative political theories on why the coast off California, and particularly North County, persists as an inviting target for federal government leases to oil companies for exploration.
Williams said he believes many members of Congress and the federal bureaucracy want to “get even” with California.
“Part of the feeling I have encountered is that California enjoys a beautiful environment and California has a lot of automobiles and uses a lot of the nation’s oil resources, but we don’t have any of the risk,” Williams said. “Some of it is vengeance, honest to God. They kind of want to get even with us by making us take some of the risks of oil production.”
Eckert, who represents North County, where some of the proposed drilling platforms might be visible offshore, said he believes that the North County coast has been targeted for exploration because of its strong identification with the Republican Party.
“In some ways, I see this area being put up as a sacrificial goat for oil leases,” Eckert said. “It’s a strong Republican area and it’s like the Republicans have to swallow their bad medicine with everybody else. So we’re going to have to swallow ours.”
But Eckert said he opposed the drilling and felt it was “being shoved down our throats.”