Hannah-Beth Jackson

California State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) has introduced a bill to ban offshore oil drilling in an area off the Santa Barbara County coastline.

The state approved protection for some state-controlled areas off the coastline in 1994 but the Tranquillon Ridge area was not included in the list.

Some portion of the ridge in federal waters has already been drilled but Jackson’s SB 1096 bill proposes to end the loophole for state-managed areas of the ridge.

Jackson said: "For too long, oil companies have been eyeing this precious marine ecosystem as theirs for the taking.

"With each new proposal, we have mustered our resources and fought for our environmental future.

"This bill would close the book on the possibility of future offshore drilling in these state waters and help ensure that our precious coastline remains protected forever."

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Jackson noted that oil firms have made several attempts to enter into Tranquillon Ridge’s offshore reserves from state waters in recent years.

"With each new proposal, we have mustered our resources and fought for our environmental future."

Since 2003, Sunset and Exxon have pursued an oil development proposal to drill into Tranquillon Ridge reserves from an onshore location at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

According to Jackson, slant drilling from onshore into offshore waters raises significant concerns about possible oil spills, impacts on marine life, air and water pollution, and contributions to global climate change.

Approximately 35 miles of Santa Barbara County’s pristine coastline was devastated in 1969 due to an oil slick after an offshore oil extraction.

Image: Santa Barbara County Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson. Photo: courtesy of Hannahbeth2012.