Environment: Good News for Santa Barbara

In a calculated move to help pay for the Viet Nam War—without raising taxes—the Johnson Administration in 1968 invited oil companies to lease about 453,-600 acres of federal waters for offshore oil and gas drilling in California's Santa Barbara Channel. The oilmen paid $624 million for 70 leases. But just as the Nixon Administration took office in 1969, a massive underwater blowout began slopping 1,000 bbl. of oil a day over miles of Santa Barbara's white beaches, killing marine creatures and raising a huge public outcry.

Last week President Nixon heeded the message. The President asked Congress to cancel 20 federal leases...

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