For the last couple years, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has lobbied to boost state revenues by allowing expanded drilling off Santa Barbara.

The Tranquillon Ridge plan accounted for $100 million in the governor's proposed budget.

Well, so much for that. In view of the vast and growing ecological disaster in the Gulf, the governor has had a change of heart.

“You turn on television and see this enormous disaster and you say to yourself, why would we want to take that risk?” Schwarzenegger said today.

The State Lands Commission had already rejected the plan, as had the Legislature. For PXP, which is proposing to drill in state waters from an existing rig in federal waters, the loss of Schwarzenegger's support may be only a temporary setback. Republican gubernatorial candidates Steve Poizner and Meg Whitman support the plan, while Democrat Jerry Brown is opposed.

Some local environmentalists have touted the project, saying it would lead to an earlier end to drilling in federal waters. Others aren't buying it.

Credit: Greenpeace

Credit: Greenpeace

As the Santa Barbara Independent reports, the folks at Greenpeace have created a simulation of what would happen if a spill of the magnitude now unfolding in the Gulf were to happen off Santa Barbara. As you can see, it might make life difficult for beachgoers in our neck of the woods.

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