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OXNARD, CA, August 17, 2005 --/WORLD-WIRE/--
Environmental and progressive energy policy advocates nationwide applaud the recent ruling from U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken that stopped the government from extending 36 undeveloped oil and gas leases off California's coast, declaring that the government's environmental analysis was incomplete and did not include a full examination of the effects of future oil exploration and production to the ocean and marine life.

Oxnard-based Stop Offshore Oil Drilling is optimistic that the ruling will boost its campaign to stop oil companies from expanding operations at mothballed facilities, particularly Venoco Inc.'s operations at Platform Grace. Venoco's Platform Grace is located off the coast of Oxnard, Ventura and Santa Barbara, not far from the site of Unocal's infamous 1969 spill that devastated 35 miles of Southern California's coastline.

"We are elated by Judge Wilken's decision," said Mitchell Schwartz, spokesman for Stop Offshore Oil Drilling. "The court validated what every Californian who lived through the '69 spill knows: offshore oil drilling poses a grave threat to the marine environment and beach communities. But we still have more work to do. We reissue a call to Venoco and all oil companies looking to restart production at idled facilities, to stop all plans and respect the will of the people. It should be increasingly clear that Californians and the law are behind Stop Offshore Oil Drilling and other groups fighting to protect California's coast."

The recent ruling issued by Judge Wilken centers on the extent of environmental studies required by the federal government for oil companies wishing to drill at undeveloped offshore leases. The judge's decision is relevant to Stop Offshore Oil Drilling's efforts because there is similar disagreement between the federal government and environmental groups regarding the extent of environmental review required before idled platforms such as Venoco's are revived.

"This ruling is important because it requires the federal government to finally disclose all of the far-reaching impacts from offshore oil and gas development, including risks of oil spills, air and water pollution, harm to sea otters and other threatened and endangered species, and impacts to coastal recreation, views and tourism," said Linda Krop, chief counsel for the Environmental Defense Center (EDC).

Stop Offshore Oil Drilling is broad-based coalition of concerned citizens, political leaders, and environmental, conservation, and public health groups that have joined together to defeat attempts to drill for oil off of California's coast. Members of the coalition support the moratorium on new exploration and drilling and share a deep concern over the effects that existing oil company activities are having on environmentally-sensitive and pristine areas and one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. Stop Offshore Oil Drilling is fighting to ensure that our coastlines remain protected for generations to come.

For more information, please visit

Mitchell Schwartz

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