But the State Lands Commission on Thursday killed the deal crafted by Santa Barbara’s most vociferous anti-oil groups and Houston-based Plains Exploration and Production, closing the door on a plan that would have been the first approval to drill for oil in state waters since 1969.
Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, one of three members of the lands panel, said allowing any new drilling in state waters would suggest the state welcomes offshore drilling and send a come-hither message to other oil companies. His view was echoed by legislators from coastal districts, including Assemblyman Pedro Nava, who represents Santa Barbara.
Approval would have been “a message heard very, very clearly by those who call for ‘drill, baby, drill,’ ” said Garamendi, a former Interior Department official who is running for governor.