Environment & Science

Tranquillon Ridge compromise deal could live again: PXP, environmentalists strike new deal

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Santa Barbara environmentalists say they may have improved a plan that would allow a Texas-based oil company to drill offshore.  KPCC's Molly Peterson says that activists maintain the revised plan would win more support from skeptics.

Two years ago, the Central Coast-based Environmental Defense Center got Plains Exploration to agree to stop drilling within 14 years. Plains would get to drill new wells from existing platforms on the condition that it would eventually stop all exploration, close processing facilities, and donate land to conservation groups.

Other activists and the State Lands Commission killed the deal: they worried that the federal government could undo the agreement, and that the state had no way to enforce it. The Environmental Defense Center's Linda Krop has announced new terms she hopes will quiet critics.

California would become a party to the contract. Plains Exploration would agree to give up its federal leases and end platform drilling at the end of the agreement period.

The state’s involvement would make the agreement more public than it was the first time around. Plains Exploration will still have to go before the State Lands Commission to get approval for new wells. If that happens, this agreement would factor into the discussion at those hearings.