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      Fight to Keep Chevron Out of Santa Monica Bay

      I hate to disagree with my stalwart friends at Heal the Bay, but I believe they should be opposing a renewal of the Chevron lease to keep offloading billions of gallons of crude oil in Santa Monica Bay.

      Mark Gold’s op-ed piece in today’s Los Angeles Times concedes the fight against Chevron, seeking more fees and mitigation instead. If Heal the Bay will not lead a fight against oil tankers in the Bay, who will?

      Chevron hopes to obtain a renewal on their lease today from a compliant State Lands Commission made up two outgoing members (Gov. Schwarzenegger and Lt. Gov. Maldonaldo) and one incumbent (Controller Chiang).

      There should have been maximum pressure to put off the hearing in light of November’s election results which changed the balance of the commission in a progressive direction.

      Mark Gold is surely right that tankers will not be leaving the Bay “anytime soon.” That seems even more assured since no one is raising the demand.

      This is the year of the great Gulf oil spill, a time when environmentalists and the general public could be motivated again to fight for our coastline. The opportunity was missed.

      Heal the Bay and our elected coastal representatives should be battling Chevron and educating the public instead of accepting the presence of the tankers here. How Chevron has managed for so many years to silently manipulate regional environmental politics is beyond me.

      It is fine to demand higher fees or a shorter lease extension than the thirty years Chevron wants. But the first question is one of purpose and principle: whether allowing any tankers is consistent with healing the bay, or whether the tankers put the bay at risk of an inevitable spill.

      In summary, I think Heal the Bay should have mobilized all this year against the Chevron lease extension, should have been urging a delay until the new commission was seated, and demanded the planned redirection of those hundreds of accidents waiting to happen (i.e. 350 tankers per year) away from Santa Monica Bay.

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      Reader Comments (4)

      Thank you for continuing the pioneering coastal work of Ellen Stern Harris. I'm sure she would agree with your recommendations on this important challenge!
      Loretta Ayeroff, Archivist, Ellen Stern Harris Archive

      December 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLoretta Ayeroff

      Please read Rikki Ott on the history of what happened before, during and ten years following the Exxon Valdez spill. Invite her to Santa Monica to speak, she's an excellent writer and speaker. (She is a toxicologist, has worked on oil spills analyzing health effects of this oil spill AND the BP disaster. She could single-handedly mobilize Santa Monica into action. Contact Antonia Juhasz in the Bay area, her work as Director of the Chevron Program is stunning. While the BP spill took place, she was in the Chevron Shareholder's meeting in Houston, and she brought first hand witnesses to the atrocities committed by Chevron, from around the globe, to testify. I would love to have seen this in action. A brand new Director of Chevron had quite a surprise, I'm sure.

      I grew up just 10 miles from where this is happening, and I hope people take action before it's too late.

      December 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMolly Gibbs

      Yes, if Heal the Bay won't lead in this, who will?! As a Santa Monican, after BP and so many other big oil violations we have to stand up to Chevron & all of big oil, it's now or never.

      December 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDevin

      It is easy to complain about Chevron, but it is much more difficult, to suggest a better alternative. How can people get to work, how will people on fixed income, or the working poor get to work, especially in places where public transportation does not run frequently--or late enough to get them home after a long day at work.

      We are against drilling, unloading oil, or seemingly do anything that will keep businesses running, heated. lighted. This is why the so called green lobby fails so often. It's really not about going green--it's about sticking it to big business. If we are going to criticize, we need an alternative that does not raise costs, that is not subsidized by the government, that does not hit the poor or working people the hardest--as the elitists comments above will.

      being green is not a policy--it's a feel good philosophy, for wealthy, condescending liberals from the 1960s that have never read the Wall Street Journal, think the flat tax favors the rich and is not progressive, never bothered to study supply side economics, and don't understand that limiting the amount of a commodity increases its costs.

      That hits the poor and people of modest means harder than everyone else. That is elitism, not populism. I doubt Hayden thinks the policy Chevron is good for the economy--but it does keep is group working--and his family in hamburger.

      The best policy for the poor is the simplest, though it won't keep the green lobby at work-- "Drill, Baby, drill."

      December 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDave Dompkins

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