Arnold v. Pombo: the Terminator meets the Driller Killer


California Rep. Richard Pombo will be familiar to Mother Jones readers for his near-pathological hostility toward the environment. (He particularly has it in for the ocean.)

Now he’s tangling with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger over his (Pombo’s) tireless efforts to increase offshore oil and gas drilling, overturning a 25-year-old moratorium on same. Schwarzenegger, who’s trying to “burnish his green credentials,” as they say, before his day of reckoning with the voters in November, calls Pombo’s drilling bill (the Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act), which would give states authority over drilling for 100 miles offshore, and which was expected to clear the House today, “unacceptable.”

Here, via Ocean Champions, is a snippet from a letter the Governator sent to Pombo.

My position on the need to protect California’s coast from the adverse impacts of oil and gas development is clear and unwavering. When I ran for Governor, I took a strong stance against any further oil and gas leasing in the Outer Continental Shelf off the coast of California and called on the federal government to buy out existing undeveloped federal leases. In a letter to the United States Congress on May 13, 2005, I stated this position in response to potential changes to California’s protections in the federal energy bill. In my November 3, 2005, letter to you, I restated my resolve on this issue. The impacts of new offshore oil and gas leasing and development off the California coast are unacceptable.

Full disclosure: Call us partisan if you want, but we at Mother Jones are unapologetically pro-ocean, and while we think Arnold’s been a total dud when it comes to juvenile justice, we think he’s got the right idea on this. Read the full letter here.

UPDATE: The House did indeed vote to end the drilling ban. On the upside, Pombo’s bill will probably fail in the Senate.

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