Orange County Board Opposes Drilling

The Orange County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously adopted a resolution opposing federal plans to open coastal waters off Orange County to offshore oil and gas exploration and drilling. In urging passage of the resolution, Supervisor Harriett M. Wieder said the board must show a united front in opposing Lease Sale 95 because of the severe economic and health threat it poses to the county's coastal communities.

Lease Sale 95 encompasses a 10,000-square-mile area of coastal waters along Central and Southern California that federal officials plan to open to oil and gas exploration by April, 1991. If a special presidential commission recommends in favor of further oil and gas development off California, oil companies could begin bidding for the rights to those undersea tracts next February. That presidential commission, studying the impact of offshore oil activity, is expected to issue a report by Jan. 1.

Local and county officials have warned that the oil supplies off the Orange County coast are equivalent to what the nation consumes in 3 days, which they claim is hardly worth the risks of exploration and drilling in local waters. A recent report also concluded that further offshore oil development would severely hurt tourism and drive down property values.

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