For the second time this year, San Luis Obispo County supervisors considered and rejected a resolution opposing oil and gas exploration off the Central Coast.
This time, during a Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, supervisors Adam Hill and Bruce Gibson voted "no" because, they said, the language wasn't strong enough and didn't adequately represent the county's position. Supervisors Debbie Arnold and Lynn Compton voted to adopt the resolution. Chairman John Peschong was absent.
Gibson said the resolution comes up far short of the kind of quality statement the county should make and that he "can't support the resolution as written because it says, on one hand, 'no offshore oil,' and on the second, 'we remain open.'"
The resolution says:
- The county of San Luis Obispo is opposed to any expansion of oil and gas exploration or extraction off our coastline.
- The county is available and willing to work with the Department of the Interior in the development of an offshore energy plan that provides for needed energy while ensuring protection of our important natural resources.
Some members of the public said they thought the language was confusing and contradictory, others, including Mike Brown of COLAB, said California should embrace offshore oil development for national security.
Before the vote, a progressive group called SLOSense said on Facebook that the resolution is weak and "designed to provide Supervisor Lynn Compton a re-election gimmick to claim she voted to 'oppose' offshore oil."
The county already sent a letter in March 2017 to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke that says the county is opposed to any expansion of oil and gas exploration extraction off our coastline, which Arnold said contained similar language as the resolution.
"Other counties don't have Measure A. We do. That's where I'm comfortable having it. This resolution absolutely reflects our opposition. So does our letter," Arnold said.
Compton said the resolution says everything it needs to and "I want to vote for it today."
The conversation at times became testy. Arnold asked Hill not to interrupt her, to which he replied: "You never stop talking."
The issued could have already been resolved, Hill said, if Compton and Arnold had supported a resolution earlier in the year.
Gibson in February proposed a resolution opposing offshore oil and gas, but no one seconded the motion. Hill was absent and Peschong had recused himself from the discussion because he has taken money from energy companies.
Compton at that time said she didn't like the language of a resolution proposed by the Surfrider Foundation.
The issue came up again Tuesday because Hill requested in March that a resolution be placed on the agenda. At that time, Arnold said she was opposed and Compton said she was open to a discussion and a simple statement on the matter.