West Coast Senators have introduced legislation to ban oil drilling off their coast. Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., says offshore oil drilling is simply not worth the risk in light of the problems along the Gulf Coast. The measure would amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to impose a permanent ban on drilling off the states of California, Oregon and Washington.
The Senators note that a bill aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions introduced by Senators John Kerry, D-Mass., and Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., would give states the power to veto drilling within 75 miles of their shores. Neighboring states however couldn't veto a drilling project unless a government study found that an oil spill could cause significant adverse ecological or economic harm.
Polls show that public support for drilling has plummeted. A CBS poll conducted May 11 found that only 46% of respondents favored increased offshore drilling. Less than two years ago a similar poll found that 64% favored increased offshore drilling. Senator Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., says it would be wrongheaded to pursue an aggressive expansion of offshore drilling right now.