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Citing BP oil spill, Schwarzenegger drops offshore drilling plan

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The governor had previously argued that the state, which is facing a $20 billion budget shortfall, should approve the plan to raise as much as $100 million a year in new revenue.

Criticism of Schwarzenegger's reversal came quickly from those who say accidents should not drive public policy.

“The US is not going to become any less dependent on fossil fuels because of this horrible accident,” says Barbara Shook, Houston bureau chief for Energy Intelligence Group. “As long as Californians drive automobiles, they will have to have oil from somewhere. Do they want it from California where it will generate local jobs and revenues, or ... from Indonesia or the Middle East where sources are unreliable?”

The space program was not abandoned because of the shuttle explosion, says Ms. Shook, and people do not stop flying because of airline crashes, she reminds. Oil is still needed to lubricate even the windmill farms approved recently off Massachusetts, she says.

“The governor reacts impulsively to short-term events,” says John Pitney Jr., professor of American Politics Claremont McKenna College.

But environmental groups are standing up to applaud the governor's decision.

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