White House will not Challenge Drilling Ban Off California

Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton reiterated that the Bush administration's goal of protecting the scenic beauty of coastal California. The secretary announced that the United States will not seek Supreme Court review of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in the case California v. Norton.

The Interior Department hopes that issues related to 36 undeveloped oil leases off the coast of California can be resolved through negotiations with the lessees.

"Our administration strongly supports environmental protection and understands the importance of this issue to the people of California," Norton said. "The administration supports the moratorium on new leasing off the California shore and respects the wishes of the people of California. We believe our efforts will be better spent in negotiation rather than in continued litigation with the state."