Wax On, Wax Off: Oil and Water - Surfrider Foundation Defeats Tranquillon Ridge Project

in a 2-1 vote in January, a battle has raged between its opponents and proponents. On friday, while we were chasing the big swell around, our reps in the California State Assembly scored a big one for the ad hoc resistance movement that has sprung up in opposition to the offshore project. Our very own Surfrider Foundation is leading the charge. Chad Nelsen, Surfrider's Environmental Director, hailed the decision, calling it "an important victory." "Regardless of the project," said Nelsen, "allowing the [Schwarzenegger] Administration...to skirt established decision-making processes would set a dangerous precedent, jeopardizing the State's ability to enforce existing environmental law."

One of the great historical contradictions of Southern California and its coast is that the pervasive myth of libertarian renegadism depends entirely on stiff government regulations and bureaucracy. That is, California, even in its television commercials, flaunts its identity as an independent outdoorsman's paradise, where people live close to nature and the frontier, and far from the rules and regulations of government. As the commercial claims, "there's only one rule...there are no rules!" The reality, however, is that there is an abundance of rules and regulations here. Southern California's few remaining (albeit damaged) coastal frontiers only exist as we know them today due to very strict regulation and very costly management by a wide variety of state and federal agencies. We surfers exist within this contradiction. We love our renegade sport and lifestyle, our independence. Some of us pride ourselves on being modern-day equivalents of the salty, leathery Caribbean pirates of old. But we depend on our representatives, and on non-profit organizations like Surfrider, to keep our seas the way we like 'em. So tip your hats and be stoked...for now, no more oil will spoil the famous pointbreaks of our neighbors up the coast.

In this case, Surfrider, along with other grass-roots organizations and individuals, bombarded our legislators in Sacramento with action alerts, letter-writing campaigns and phone calls expressing Californians' distaste not only for offshore oil drilling in general, but for flouting the environmental laws we depend so heavily on for the preservation of the beautiful coast that is every surfer's life blood. "As we saw last year in our successful effort to save Trestles...when people stand up and make themselves be heard, it can make a difference," said Nelsen.

For more info, please visit NotTheAnswer.org.

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