Offshore oil drilling discussion heats up at state lands commission meeting

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The prospect of oil drilling off the coast of California spurred heated debate at a meeting of the state lands commission Tuesday. Some environmental advocates argued that policymakers shouldn’t even discuss new exploration for oil offshore.

Speaking to commissioners near the end of the meeting in downtown Los Angeles, state lands executive director Paul Thayer said he and his colleagues can’t ignore the matter.

Paul Thayer: "Some people look at those oil fields and drool, and other people want to spit. And we’re not including those as an invitation for oil development, but those are the facts and those facts lead to policy choices and cause the state to face these issues."

Offshore oil has assumed a higher profile since state lawmakers considered allowing a drilling plan near Santa Barbara to go forward during recent budget talks.