Tranquillon Ridge oil drilling could be resurrected by governor's budget

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A hotly-debated proposal to allow new drilling off of Santa Barbara’s coast is resurrected in the governor’s latest budget proposal. KPCC’s Molly Peterson has details.

Most environmental groups don’t want new drilling in central coast waters. But a few do support it: they’re from Santa Barbara, and for years they’ve negotiated with oil company Plains Exploration to support drilling at Tranquillon Ridge in exchange for an end to Plains’ other operations in the region.

The Tranquillion project died in the state lands commission a year ago amid concerns the end dates were unenforceable — even though the Santa Barbara environmentalists say they are enforceable. The governor wants to revive the Tranquillion project — and its promise of millions in oil revenue.

Schwarzenegger wants to use some of that money to pay for state parks. Get Oil Out, the group formed after the 1969 spill, and its lawyer the Environmental Defense Center, want the State Lands Commission to reconsider the Tranquillion project.

It may meet a different fate this year. One commissioner who opposed it is now in Congress.