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California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger no longer backs offshore oil plan

Citing the massive oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico that threatens several US states, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said on Monday that he no longer will support a plan to expand drilling off California's coast.

The Republican governor of the most populous US state had been calling for more oil drilling off the coast of Santa Barbara.

Drilling would raise money for the state government, which faces a $20 billion budget shortfall, but the idea has met determined resistance in the Democrat-led legislature.

Speaking at a media event regarding the state's preparations for California's fire season, Schwarzenegger said televised images of the oil slick moving toward the US Gulf Coast prompted his change of heart.

"I am withdrawing my support," Schwarzenegger said, referring to efforts to boost California's offshore oil production.