Chapter

Beaches versus Oil in Southern California

Paul Sabin

in Crude Politics

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2004 | ISBN: 9780520241985
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520931145 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520241985.003.0004
Beaches versus Oil in Southern California

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Environmental issues became far more salient along the rapidly developing coast than in the dry, sparsely populated San Joaquin Valley. With the political conflict over state tidelands in Santa Barbara County temporarily resolved by Boone and the legislative ban on new leases, the coastal controversy shifted to municipal lands at Venice and Huntington beaches. When the Huntington Beach story burst into full public view, the scandal focused on the economic losses to state coffers, rather than beach protection, since the new wells were not on the beach. The then Governor James Rolph, whose administration also publicly opposed coastal drilling, embraced an extraordinary backroom deal to transfer publicly-owned natural resources at Huntington Beach to trespassing private companies. But the trespassing and royalty agreements did little to capture revenue for the state government or to speed Huntington Beach's transition to its future beach economy.

Keywords: Huntington Beach; beach economy; Governor James Rolph; municipal lands; oil; trespassing agreement; royalty agreement; Santa Barbara County; San Joaquin Valley

Chapter.  9999 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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