Chairman John Burton Urges "No" Vote on Offshore Drilling

California’s legislative leaders and the governor have reached a tentative budget deal that the Senate and Assembly could vote on as soon as Thursday. One part of the package is a Republican-written bill that would allow offshore drilling in state-controlled waters off California’s coast for the first time since the devastating 1969 oil spill off the Santa Barbara coast.

California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton today issued the following statement:

"This Republican proposal to allow more offshore drilling is an affront to all Californians and we must urge lawmakers to vote it down. This sweetheart deal for one oil company was negotiated behind closed doors, without any legislative hearings to allow public comment.

"It strips the State Lands Commission – which has approved or rejected oil leases for the past 150 years – of this power and gives it to a commission controlled by the governor’s administration. This commission would have unlimited authority to rewrite the lease to benefit the oil company.

"This Republican offshore drilling scheme endangers California’s environment. It would further pad the pockets of oil executives. And it does virtually nothing to solve the state’s current or future budget problems.

"Ironically, the same Republican legislators who support this sweetheart deal are the ones who refused to vote for our Democratic leaders’ proposal for an oil-severance tax like the one levied in every other oil-producing state.

"This scheme reminds us again why it’s so important to have a majority-vote budget in California so Republicans cannot hijack the budget process to make bad policy changes that are extraneous to the state budget."

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