Measure P: the Healthy Air & Water Initiative to Ban Fracking in Santa Barbara County
Measure P campaign has a symbolic weight that has not been lost on energy executives…In 1969, the county’s scenic coastline was befouled by an oil spill that served as a catalyst for the modern environmental movement and spawned some of the nation’s core anti-pollution laws…Chevron Corp. and other energy companies have hired a team of California’s top political consultants to fight the measure.” Los Angeles Times, August 18, 2014
On November 4, we will be going to the polls to make Santa Barbara County the first major oil-producing region in the nation to ban high-risk oil extraction techniques. It is a chance to protect the people of our county from extreme forms of oil development that are severely damaging communities around the US.
You know what’s coming next —the fossil fuel industry already has a war chest of millions of dollars and is set to outspend local grassroots supporters by 40 to 1. We will be flooded with industry-funded TV ads, radio ads, online banner ads, mailers and robocalls. They will say that fracking is currently regulated, that these extraction techniques are completely safe and don’t use fresh water, that Measure P will cost thousands of jobs and cause total economic ruin, and that advocates are trying to ban all oil and deprive the entire nation of energy.
Despite what you may hear, Measure P would not affect current oil projects or conventional drilling used in the majority of wells in the county today. It would, rather, ban extreme extraction methods that are becoming frighteningly more common:
(1) Fracking: injecting water, sand and chemicals to break up rock and extract oil and gas;
(2) Acidizing: similar to fracking, but using hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acid to dissolve the rock; and
(3) Steam Injection: the most greenhouse gas-intensive form of oil production, linked to oil seepages, eruptions and groundwater contamination.
Nor would Measure P affect current jobs. Extreme oil extraction methods create few jobs, and many of these are temporary or imported specialists.
The Community Environmental Council believes that Measure P is an important step towards the safe, sustainable, renewable energy future we have been working to create.
We urge you to VOTE YES ON MEASURE P.
We need to move to clean energy. Instead of drilling for more oil, we should be taking active steps to cut our dependence on fossil fuels. The defining issue of our time is climate change, and Californians have an opportunity to lead the way to a cleaner, 21st century energy economy. Only by keeping 80 percent of known fossil fuels where they are, unburned, do we stand a chance of stemming the tide of climate change.
We need to conserve and protect our precious water supply. Extracting “tight” oil deposits through fracking or steam injection extraction methods will not only use up excessive amounts of water during a drought, but spills and seeps are inevitable. In fact, heat and high pressure have been shown to cause well casings to fail, resulting in seepage and leaks that have contaminated aquifers elsewhere. We cannot risk contaminating Santa Barbara County’s groundwater water resources.
We need to set an example. As the site of the first major oil spill in the United States in 1969 – which galvanized the modern environmental movement – Santa Barbara has a real as well as symbolic role to play in rejecting the most destructive forms of fossil-fuel production, transitioning to clean energy, and creating a blueprint for other communities to follow.
The prospect of extreme oil drilling in Santa Barbara County represents too big a risk for too small a reward. In fact, one respected group has already downgraded the amount of oil it believes is even extractable in the Monterey Shale by 96 percent. The tiny amount of usable oil we would get from allowing these practices is not worth potentially destroying our local resources.
We can’t afford to fail. The failure of Measure P in Santa Barbara County would not only threaten Santa Barbara as a biodiversity hotspot and treasured region, it could also set back the climate change and anti-fracking movements statewide, nationally and even globally. The nation’s eyes are on us with this vote, as other communities face similar concerns and struggle with how to take on the Goliath oil industries. What happens in Santa Barbara County affects the fight for the future of this planet.
The passage of this initiative is essential if we are to make progress in stemming increases in greenhouse gas emissions regionally and protecting critical resources like water. A successful campaign will help propel state, national and global efforts to rein in extreme oil production, and will be a powerful step, both real and symbolic, towards a clean energy future.
Vote YES on Measure P
For more information please go to the official campaign web site: voteyesonp.org
[starbox id=”ddavis” desc=”Dave Davis is the President, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Community Environmental Council (CEC). Dave currently serves as the Chair of the Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District Board of Directors. Dave also serves on the boards of the UCSB Economic Forecast Project and the Santa Barbara Built Green Advisory Council.”]