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Schwarzenegger Withdraws Support For Offshore Drilling

— In a sharp about-face, Governor Schwarzenegger has withdrawn his support for a controversial proposal for new oil drilling off the Santa Barbara County coast.

California brown pelicans fly near offshore oil rigs after sunset on July 21, 2009 near Santa Barbara, California.
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Above: California brown pelicans fly near offshore oil rigs after sunset on July 21, 2009 near Santa Barbara, California.

The Governor says he made the decision because of the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The Governor says the project, known as Tranquillon Ridge, would have netted the state about $100 million a year to deal with its budget crisis.

But Schwarzenegger says he’d rather find another way to come up with the money: “Before you make a decision like that, you are convinced that this will be safe, but then again you see that,” said Schwarzenegger. “You turn on the television and you see this enormous disaster and you say to yourself, why would we want to take that risk, and so the risk is just much greater than the money’s worth.”

The California project would have allowed drilling from an existing federal oil platform. The State Lands Commission rejected the proposal last year.

Governor Schwarzenegger had asked lawmakers to help push it through. California faces a budget shortfall of around $18 billion.

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