Countywide : Supervisors Line Up Against Ocean Drilling

The Board of Supervisors voted to send a letter to the Interior Department Tuesday, opposing a federal proposal for offshore oil drilling along the county's coastline.

The letter was sent in response to the Interior Department's request for comments about its plans, announced earlier this year by Interior Secretary Donald P. Hodel, to lease offshore drilling sites in many areas along the nation's coastlines.

Orange County "certainly needs to be as aggressive and diligent and as watchdogging as possible on any decision DOI makes," Supervisor Harriett M. Wieder said Tuesday.

Supervisor Thomas F. Riley added: "I think it is vital that this board comment on every input available to it."

The supervisors' letter, which was approved unanimously, said drilling off the coast could worsen air quality, damage the ocean's ecosystem and disrupt business and tourism.

This fall Interior will begin an environmental impact study on the sites for drilling, and Orange County officials plan to submit a more detailed letter then.

The federal study is expected to be completed next summer, but drilling sites are not scheduled to become available in California until 1989.

The county is also studying the impact of drilling in Orange County in cooperation with several coastal cities.

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