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Offshore Oil Drilling in California Waters

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar holds a public hearing in San Francisco this at nine o'clock Thursday morning to sample opinion on offshore oil drilling. If plans are approved, oil rigs could spring up in ocean waters from San Diego to Northern California. KPBS Environment Reporter Ed Joyce has details.

Several environmental groups from San Diego County plan to rally outside the hearing.

Angela Howe with the Surfrider Foundation says the proposed plans include leasing drilling sites in waters off San Diego County.

"In 2015 there's almost a million acres up for lease," Howe said. "That's a proposed sale in the current plan."

She says money should be spent on renewable energy sources instead of developing offshore oil fields.

A Salazar spokesman says the Interior Secretary's plan also includes renewable energy sources, such as wind, tidal and wave power.

California Senator Dianne Feinstein says efforts to reopen the federal waters off California's coast could allow unreliable oil rigs to be as close as three miles from some beaches.

The offshore drilling proposal surfaced in the last days of the Bush Administration.

Salazar has not indicated what the Interior Department's exact policy will be on offshore oil drilling.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.

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