Calif. AG candidate sour on offshore drilling

John O'Brien May 18, 2010, 4:00pm


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline) - In the wake of the BP disaster, California Attorney General-hopeful Chris Kelly wants a ban on offshore drilling reinstated.

Kelly, an executive at the social networking Web site Facebook, wrote Thursday that he is glad California's two senators are introducing a ban on West Coast oil drilling. Kelly is a Democrat facing a crowded field of opponents in the June 8 primary.

"It's bad enough to contemplate an environmental catastrophe of this scale happening at all, but it gets even worse when you look into the legal issues," Kelly said.

"Because of some outdated liability caps, the big oil companies who let the Deepwater Horizon spill happen may only pay a small fraction of the cleanup costs."

Since the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig exploded off the Louisiana coast April 20, killing 11 workers, about 5,000 barrels, or 210,000 gallons, of oil have been flooding into Gulf waters daily.

In a letter to the five state attorneys general who represent Gulf Coast states, BP General Counsel John Lynch Jr. said claimants against the company will not be asked to release BP from liability.

Kelly said former vice presidential nominee and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin helped convince President George Bush to lift a 26-year ban on new offshore drilling.

President Barack Obama, weeks before the BP explosion, unveiled a plan to open parts of the Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska to offshore drilling.

California Sens. Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein and senators from Oregon and Alaska are pushing a ban on offshore drilling on the West Coast.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at

More News