$40 Million Later

Santa Maria Energy has placed full-page ads in all the local papers objecting that county supervisors required that it offset some of its greenhouse gas emissions. The company thinks it’s “unfair” it doesn’t get an unlimited license to pollute for free and pass along the costs to the rest of us.

What is “unfair” is that people are suffering and dying today from the impacts of global warming, including 5,600-plus people from one of the largest storms ever recorded in the Philippines. Santa Maria Energy may be quibbling about a 60¢ per barrel cut in its profits, but investors just ponied up $40 million for this project.

What is “unfair” is that Santa Maria Energy is threatening politicians for taking a modest step to limit greenhouse gas emissions, even though, according to polling by the Public Policy Institute of California, 81 percent of Californians want oil companies to reduce emissions.

The politicians who should be “judged in the court of public opinion” are the two supervisors who voted for Santa Maria Energy’s right to pollute for free, and the politicians who spoke on their behalf — including Goleta City Councilmember and Mayor Pro Tempore Michael Bennett. (See the full list at

The majority of county residents want our supervisors to ensure oil companies are operating safely, paying for their pollution, and being held accountable. They do not want politicians who are in the pocket of the oil companies. Any attempt to buy our elections will be resisted.

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