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Old Baldy, Canada | photo by Cameron Schaus

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   Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | monterey county

Offshore drilling victory

At their August public hearing in Costa Mesa, the California Coastal Commission unanimously voted to object to the Bush Administration's effort to extend 36 offshore oil leases between Oxnard and San Luis Obispo. The next day a Federal judge ruled on the same issue, barring the extension of the leases until an extensive environmental review can take place. These leases are the last offshore spots not included in the Federal drilling moratorium, and with this ruling it is highly unlikely that there will be any new drilling in these areas for several years.

Californians have been united against additional offshore oil drilling since the devastating 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, and Sierra Club coastal activists have been working for years to fight back constant drilling threats to our coast. This is a huge victory for everyone who wants clean water, safe beaches and protection for ocean and coastal plants and animals.

The Coastal Commission stood up for all Californians, while the Federal Government refused to even show up and answer questions at the public hearing. Coastal Commission Chair Meg Caldwell was right on the money when she said that their failure to appear was "an affront to the Coastal Commission, the Federal courts and the people of California."

Thanks to all coastal activists who have stood with us over the years. This victory is another reminder that united, we are succeeding in protecting Californiaâs threatened coastline for future generations.

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