San Clemente, CA (July 28, 2009) – On Friday, the California State Assembly prevented an attempt to override the State Land Commission’s denial of the Tranquillon Oil & Gas Project off the coast of Santa Barbara. They stopped legislation added to the budget that would have allowed the project to move forward. The Assembly’s decision stresses the importance of California’s system of independent boards and commissions to take action, and also highlights the grassroots efforts of the Surfrider Foundation and other environmental organizations to prevent Governor Schwarzenegger from circumventing the State Lands Commission’s decision making process regarding the project.
“This was an important victory for us,” says Chad Nelsen, Environmental Director for the Surfrider Foundation. “Regardless of the project, allowing the Administration to use special legislation to skirt established decision making processes would set a dangerous precedent, jeopardizing the state’s ability to enforce existing environmental law.”
In January, the California State Lands Commission denied the Tranquillon Oil & Gas project in a 2-1 vote. At that time, Commission attorneys, in consultation with the Attorney General’s office, concluded that the agreement could not be reliably enforced. In an effort to move forward on the project, special budget legislation was proposed that would have allowed the Director of Finance to effectively override the State Lands Commission’s decision.
Within days, Surfrider Foundation and numerous other environmental organizations banded together to express their opposition to the special legislation that would overturn the State Lands Commission’s decision. Through action alerts, letter writing campaigns, and countless phone calls to local representatives in Sacramento, activists urged that this special legislation be left off the budget because the efforts was contrary to the principle of independence of California’s system of independent boards, would weaken the Commission, and establish a precedent that controversial decisions of the agency could potentially be reversed through legislative tricks.
“As we saw last year in our successful effort to Save Trestles and then again with this decision, when people stand up and make themselves be heard it can make a difference,” says Nelsen.
For more information, visit www.nottheanswer.org <http://www.nottheanswer.org> .
About Surfrider Foundation
The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots environmental organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s oceans, waves and beaches. Now in its 25th year, the Surfrider Foundation has grown from a small group of dedicated surfers in Malibu, California to a global movement made up of over 50,000 members and 90 chapters worldwide. For more information visit us at www.surfrider.org