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SECRET AGREEMENT - SIN OF COMMISSION

Monday, January 18th, 2010

The fate of public lands cannot be decided in contracts negotiated behind closed doors.

Controller John Chiang,  Lands Commission member

I’ve been looking for a way to demonstrate what I call the new eco-industrial complex while raising awareness about whole-scale corruption in the “name of the environment” then I read this little Dusey about a secret agreement between an oil company and a California environmental group, thank-you Calbuzz, and the pieces fit neatly into place.

It seems there is some kind of a secret pact between Huston based oil company PXP and Environmental Defense Center (EDC).

EDC has been prominent in the decades-long fight against offshore drilling in California according to Calbuzz.

Wait a second.

EDC, a prominent environmental group, has been publicly eschewing off-shore drilling but privately endorsing PXP’s application for lease to slant drill into state waters, from an existing platform under federal jurisdiction, more than three miles offshore.

It is shameful that an oil company got an environmental group - in this case Environmental Defense Center to do its bidding for YEARS for a piddly 100k… peanuts compared to the billions PXP is going to make.

PXP and EDC said they recently incorporated amendments to the agreement to address criticisms raised at the initial State Lands Commission hearing by strengthening written assurances that the promised benefits of the agreement will materialize.

Calbuzz

In one fell swoop EDC has not only tarnished environmental groups and raises the pay-for-play question, but has trashed the street cred of the State Lands Commission, and all the other agencies under them. This revelation raises some very uncomfortable questions - similar to the ones I raise in SINS OF COMMISSION that demand rigorous investigation and appropriate action.

SINS OF COMMISSION reveals that for decades the California Coastal Commission, an agency of state, engages in environmental degradation in exchange for a dedication of land or an easement of property.

Now it seems this deal-making behind closed doors is “business as usual.” - despite claims of transparency. If recent scandal-ridden history has taught us anything…this is just the tip of theiceberg.

…it is not unusual for environmental groups to keep private the legal agreements or settlements it makes with corporations applying for permits or leases before public agencies.

Linda Krop, chief counsel for the Environmental Defense Center

If it is a private deal that is one thing… but oil leases are not generally considered private….oil leases are a public resource.

If permission is given, this would be the first lease granted by the state since Union Oil’s disastrous 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill - an oil spill that lead to vociferous public outrage- an outrage that needs voice now right here in California.

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Read more at Calbuzz:



 
 
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