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San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara Counties, CA June 22, 2010 Election
Smart Voter

John Laird's Record of Opposing Offshore Drilling

By John Laird

Candidate for State Senator; District 15

This information is provided by the candidate
John Laird's Long History of Protecting the California Coast Against Offshore Oil Drilling Proposals
During Laird's City Council service in the 1980's, he was the City Council point person on offshore oil issues. He was the appointee of the Monterey Bay League of Cities Chapter to the Governor's Advisory Committee on Outer Continental Shelf Issues in 1987-1990. He was a board member and President of the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments (AMBAG) during this period and frequently brought up coastal issues in that capacity.

In 1985, John and a colleague on the city council proposed a ballot measure on offshore oil drilling that was approved with 82% of the vote. That measure opposed the drilling proposals at that time, but also stipulated that no zoning change for onshore oil drilling support facilities could be approved without a vote of the people. The measure further authorized city support to educate other cities and counties on how to do a similar thing.

John was the City Council's point person on this issue. The Council contracted with Save Our Shores to implement this project, and John was the liaison to Save Our Shores as the project proceeded. He testified as Mayor at the 1988 Fort Bragg hearing on proposed oil drilling, which went for almost 24 hours due to the opposition to oil drilling expressed by countless witnesses. He helped organize a demonstration against drilling on the floor of the 1988 Democratic National Convention.

By the end of John's council service in 1990, 26 other local California jurisdictions had adopted similar measures to the City of Santa Cruz - including San Luis Obispo City and County and the City of Morro Bay. A court challenge to the initiatives was defeated in federal court against the right of these local coastal governments to enact such ordinances.

John brought this concern to his legislative service. Of particular note was the bill he authored to insure there was no delay in oil spill response due to the establishing funding mechanism for cleanup. He was the co-author of the resolution in opposition to drilling, and spoke on the Assembly floor on this issue.

In the fall of 2007, a major spill by the Cosco Busan in the San Francisco Bay led to a package of bills to address oil spills. John was strongly supportive of the package.

John was one of three original co-sponsors of AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, a bill strongly opposed by big oil interests.

John was also a leading voice in the effort to establish an oil severance tax on oil drilling companies in order to help close the budget deficit--California is the only major oil-producing state that does not have such a tax on big oil companies.

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