According to various sources, including his own own campaign website, Garamendi, argued strongly that the plan would “signal” that California wants to open offshore drilling and supporters would push for more oil exploration on the West Coast.
“I refuse to let this lease move forward,” Garamendi said. “Approving a drilling proposal will undercut congressional efforts to reintroduce a federal moratorium on offshore oil drilling earlier lifted by the Bush Administration.”
Well, the Bush administration did remove an executive order moratorium, but it was Congress that let expire the Congressionally imposed moratorium. Furthermore, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted last year to encourage additional drilling–and they’re the ones whose constituents are most directly affected. The board voted 3-2 to send a letter to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger encouraging him to consider allowing more oil drilling off [Santa Barbara] county shores.
I’m not sure what message Mr. Garamendi wants to “signal.” It may be that he doesn’t want competing interests (like oil companies and environmentalists) to compromise with each other. It may be that he doesn’t want technology advances, aimed at protecting against a recurrence of the 40 year old oil spill, to be persued. It may be that he simply chooses to forego the dollars the State would reap from royalty revenues.