110 public speakers turned out for this week's hearing on the proposed drilling project

Len Wood / Santa Maria Times

110 public speakers turned out for this week's hearing on the proposed drilling project

Enviros Successfully Challenge Oil Drilling Project

County Makes Santa Maria Energy Reduce Its Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Article Tools
Print friendly
E-mail story
Tip Us Off
iPod friendly
Share Article

“Today, we’re here to talk about a number of things,” said Nathan Alley, an attorney for the Environmental Defense Center. From jobs and taxes to oil leaks and environmental disasters including the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara and the recent typhoon in the Philippines, supporters and opponents of Santa Maria Energy’s proposed 110 new oil wells did talk of many things Tuesday, all in their efforts to convince the Board of Supervisors to reject or uphold an appeal of the project’s permitted greenhouse gas emissions.

But after nearly six hours of impassioned comments from the public, pointed arguments from representatives for the Environmental Defense Center and Santa Maria Energy, and heated deliberation among themselves, the supervisors voted 3-2 to require Santa Maria Energy to further reduce its greenhouse gas emissions — down to 10,000 metric tons per year from the previously approved 62,000, at an estimated annual cost to the company of $500,000.

“We are very disappointed that the Board of Supervisors chose to not follow the recommendation of their staff, and we need to analyze this decision further because we have to live in the real world of economics,” said Bob Poole, Santa Maria Energy’s public and government affairs manager, after the vote. “The project has to work for us, or we can’t do it.” The company, Poole added, has 30 days to decide if it wants to sue the county over the decision.

Tuesday’s meeting wasn’t so much a question of if the project, proposed in 2009, would become reality, but how much it would cost the company and the environment. The EDC’s appeal asked that the 110 new cyclic steam injection wells — there are 26 pilot wells on site — be held to a more stringent standard than approved by the county’s Planning Commission, on a 3-2 vote, in September. While the commissioners had voted to hold Santa Maria Energy to a 29 percent greenhouse-gas emissions threshold — meaning the 136 wells’ projected yearly emissions of 88,000 metric tons would be reduced to about 62,000 — the supervisors’ decision will nail the company to a far stricter flat limit of 10,000 metric tons per year.

That 10,000-ton figure was one of the requests of the EDC’s appeal. The law firm had maintained that the 29 percent figure is unprecedented and lower than the long-standing 10,000 metric tons per year threshold the county has borrowed from other jurisdictions since the passage in 2006 of California’s Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32). Under the law, which aims to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, such energy projects are to be held to at least a 15.3 percent emissions threshold or to reduce or offset with carbon emission credits projected emissions by that amount, although local jurisdictions can be stricter.

Projected to produce 3,300 barrels per day, the 110 new wells, proposed for 32 acres on the company’s Orcutt Oil Field property, would come with two steam generators — the main emissions contributors — as well as an oil pipeline and a water pipeline that would transfer 300,000 gallons daily of recycled wastewater from the Laguna County Sanitation District. The steam would be injected into the porous diatomaceous earth, thinning the oil and releasing it from the pores. It’s not fracking, Santa Maria Energy officials have said, because it doesn’t break the rock.

The EDC’s appeal claimed that the company could negate its emissions entirely, for about $1 a barrel. But Poole has called that claim unfair given the company’s 7.5 percent return-on-investment — Apple makes 20 percent, he said — or about $7.50 per barrel. Nonetheless, Alley said he was pleased with the decision: “We are satisfied with what happened today,” he said. “We’re satisfied that the status quo has been maintained. Ten thousand metric tons is a heck of a lot better than 50,000 or 60,000 metric tons.”

Supervisor Steve Lavagnino
Click to enlarge photo

Len Wood / Santa Maria Times

Supervisor Steve Lavagnino

The 3-2 vote — Supervisors Steve Lavagnino, who gave an impassioned speech, and Peter Adam, who made a failed motion to ease the threshold to the state’s prescribed 15.3 percent, voted no — means that if the project’s emissions exceed 10,000 metric tons per year, Santa Maria Energy will have to employ on-site mitigation measures or buy reduction credits, which county staff said cost anywhere from $2-$8 per metric ton, or the aforementioned estimated $500,000 a year. That amount could fluctuate year to year based on the quantity of emissions the company produces and how the credits market varies.

In what one of the 110 public commenters said seemed like a “civil war between North and South County,” Santa Barbara County residents — from climate change deniers and science teachers to Santa Maria Energy employees and millennials concerned about the planet they’ll inherit, and for many seniors, the one they’ll leave behind — argued to the supervisors the project’s benefits and drawbacks. Proponents of the project, many of whom wore yellow in line with the company’s honeycomb logo, invoked jobs (50-75 permanent full-time positions, according to Santa Maria Energy officials), as well as property tax revenues ($3 million a year) for the county’s general fund and schools, and a yearly economic spurt ($170 million) for the county.

Opponents of the project, however, cited concerns about what could go wrong in the wake of what could go right. They worried about everything from oil seeps — a subject the supervisors looked at earlier in their meeting — and the detriments to farmland and health, to the overall effect the emissions would have on climate change. According to the federal Environmental Protection Agency, 62,000 metric tons per year — the figure approved by the Planning Commission—is the equivalent to the emissions from 12,900 cars. Ten thousand metric tons equals just over 2,000 cars.

“There’s certainly no doubt in my mind that global warming is real and has been accelerated by human activity, particularly the burning of fossil fuels,” said 3rd District Supervisor Doreen Farr, who voted in favor of the stricter threshold. Farr noted that she has visited the proposed site and understood the economic incentives, but that greenhouse-gas emissions’ environmental toll required the county to “pick up the pace.” First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal and 2nd District Supervisor Janet Wolf, who each voted for the 10,000 metric tons figure, both stressed the need for the county to “balance” its economic interests with its environmental concerns.

Beth Marino, Santa Maria Energy's vice president of legal and corporate affairs
Click to enlarge photo

Len Wood / Santa Maria Times

Beth Marino, Santa Maria Energy’s vice president of legal and corporate affairs

In arguing the case for Santa Maria Energy, Beth Marino, the company’s vice president of legal and corporate affairs, said imposing the 10,000 tons per year threshold would make Santa Barbara County seem inhospitable to business. “We live in this community, and we take our responsibilities seriously,” she said, referring to the berms surrounding the facility and its live monitoring system and environmental protections. “No single project can be held solely responsible for climate change,” she said.

Joining Adam in voting against the stricter limit was Lavagnino, visibly tweaked by the EDC for not reaching out to him. “I didn’t get a phone call; I didn’t get an email; I didn’t get a contact from anybody at the EDC,” he said. “They just felt like, ‘It doesn’t matter. We’ve got our votes. We’ve got this thing in the bag. We’re not going to talk,’” Lavagnino continued, saying he believes in climate change. “I think we do need alternative energy. But how many wind projects have been brought before us? How many solar projects? How many wave technology projects?

“You’re not hurting an oil company today. You’re hurting a community,” he went on, noting several of the nonprofits that Santa Maria Energy contributes to. Lavagnino also admitted that he has “softened considerably” on social issues like programs for the homeless and mentally ill, but that those services require funding that revenue from the project could generate. And forcing the company, Lavagnino said, to spend $500,000 a year on reduction credits — which don’t have to be purchased from California companies and aren’t currently available in-county — isn’t right. “Don’t cost this county millions of dollars so we can go plant trees in another state,” he said.

Tuesday’s vote didn’t set an official county standard, but it could make the case for the 10,000-ton mark stronger for future projects. For instance, before the supervisors dealt with Santa Maria Energy, they discussed 85 emergency 15-foot-long seep cans recently installed by Pacific Coast Energy Company, an oil company whose own 96 cyclic steam injection wells — approved in 2006 — sit right next door to Santa Maria Energy’s proposed wells at the Orcutt Oil Field.

According to the county, steam injection is believed to exacerbate the occurrence of naturally occurring seeps, and although Pacific Coast Energy Company has since taken action to prevent 90 percent of new leaks, some supervisors questioned if Santa Maria Energy’s new wells could seep, too. Buried under that discussion was Pacific Coast Energy Company’s recent application for 96 more steam injection wells.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Bludgeoning a project with oppressive demands could be called a "successful challenge". Others might use the term economic extortion.

I suspect there is a great deal of buyers remorse among those in north county who turned down the county split vote a few years back. It was a no-brainer and should have happened. And tried again. Soon.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 13, 2013 at 9:14 a.m. (Suggest removal)

You have to monetize the "hidden" costs of such endeavours. And in this case, a majority of the Supervisors chose not to go cheap.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
November 13, 2013 at 10:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Yeah, while we all turn a blind eye to what Climate Change is doing on to other side of the world. Money is going to kill this planet.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
November 13, 2013 at 10:42 a.m. (Suggest removal)

How about changing the Santa Maria's high school team's name to the Enviros?

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
November 13, 2013 at 11:20 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The Board (Carbajal, Wolf & Farr) made a courageous decision to force SME to offset +/- 50,000 Metric Tons of Pollution, the equivalent of saving the pollution discharge from 10,000 new cars every year on to Santa Barbara's roads. SME's profits will hardly be impacted as the additional costs to meet the 10,000 MTCO2e threshold will be in the neighborhood of $.72 per barrel. (Final EIR, pp. 5.1-49.) Oil today sells at approximately $100+ per barrel. Plus, this decision will set an important precedent for future boards in 7 or so counties that will face applications to develop the 15.4 billion barrels of oil in the Monterey Shale formations. Stan Roden

baba2 (anonymous profile)
November 13, 2013 at 11:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)

But California regulations now demand those 100,000 new cars will be either all electric or get 78mph. Who ran the numbers to support claim this 10,000 car contribution to area pollution?

In what context and using what baseline numbers. So perhaps there will be no new net pollution after all, since all the swarming enviros who showed up to protest all came by alternate transportation and/or in their beloved all-electric Priuses.

And what happened to 55mph to save us from ourselves? How fast are those 10,000 new cars driving to get the numbers of their pollution output equivalents?

Hard to tell any of this through all the shouting and threats of global annihilation from the south county enviros. If this project supported by the local affected supervisors themselves and accepted by two county planning agencies, it is good enough for me. Mobs are rarely rational.

BTW: does capitalizing Climate Change now give it the gravitas it failed to earn fact and substance? Kind of like God and god. Reminds me of the bad old days when Bush started talking about Weapons of Mass Destruction -- all with caps too to keep people from looking more deeply at the real issues.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 13, 2013 at 12:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

One board member whines because he didn't get a call or email. If we have to depend on SME to fund mentally ill and homeless, something has really gone wrong in society. Hurting a community? pulease. A shill just outed himself with all the distraction whining nonsense.

spacey (anonymous profile)
November 13, 2013 at 12:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Who else is funding those "mentally ill and homeless" population groups since Hannah-Beth Jackson and Das Williams have been totally silent about the misdirection of the Prop 43 billions voters approved years ago, that were supposed to be directed to this cause, while this population is still on the streets in our county.

Actually, this is a tough one because of the strong county union members support for the SME project. They see their own paychecks fattened so we all the sudden had very strange bed-fellows on this one as the public employee unions tossed their previous enviro buddies under the bus - or at least a petroleum fired vehicle.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 13, 2013 at 4:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The headline seems off, if they are just buying carbon offset credits and non local ones they are not really reducing any impact here.

I wonder if there could have been a middle ground force them to donate to social service groups here - food banks/homeless shelters/etc a few hundred grand a year and gone with the state level emissions.

pointssouth (anonymous profile)
November 14, 2013 at 10:23 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The average car in the US emits 5.1 tons of emissions per year according to the EPA (

SME would emit 87,800 tons of emissions. So you simply divide that by 5.1 to get the car equivalent of 17,215 cars. (SME verified these numbers)

At the previously proposed 29% mitigation level, they would offset a portion (actually was 23% because they get existing emissions grandfathered in). That would have taken their "free" emissions down to 67,000 tons or the equivalent of 13,137 cars -- still a STAGGERING level of emissions.

With this ruling, they still get 10,000 tons and existing emissions as freebies so still will be adding substantial net new emissions to our County at no cost to them. (Plus the community also still bears the cost of risks of spills and water contamination.)

This is a entirely reasonable and even conservative ruling since we are required to reduce emissions under CA's global warming laws, and it will be impossible for the County to do its part if huge new sources of emissions like this were added without offset or upper limit.

This ruling was a triumph for science and reason and a glimmer of hope that we can face the profound risks of global climate change and start to take steps to deal with it.

jdiggs (anonymous profile)
November 14, 2013 at 11:08 a.m. (Suggest removal)

While not a big fan of drilling. This is a perfect example of South County Supervisors (and to call Doreen a rep of the north county interest is a joke), dictating what's best for the north county even though that area supported the project. Also, it's accurate to call the current Board Majority anti business. No suprise that EDC and their paid BOS reps got what they wanted. When have you seen Janet, Doreen or Salud vote agains the enviros for hire???

BeachFan (anonymous profile)
November 14, 2013 at 11:26 a.m. (Suggest removal)

CA cars are not average US cars. Next junk in, junk out response? Plus the imagery of adding thousands more cars on the road was intentionally misleading and perverse. Who hires you jokers?

What you are saying is you are just making this stuff up. What is your real agenda besides duping people to pay you to do this.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 14, 2013 at 12:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Irony noted.

Leading lawyer non-profit Environmental Defense Center Nathan Alley who shot this tax revenue and jobs increase project in the foot is married to the same city council candidate Megan Alley who demanded the city of Santa Barbara build more "affordable housing" because she as a renter could not afford to buy anything in this area.

What classic playing both ends against the middle from this tag-team duo has only been in town less than 5 years. Such promising potential for more mutual destruction of our locale from both of them.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 14, 2013 at 3:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This whole conflict was created by the California State Air Resources Board by its failure to address the regulation of new sources of greenhouse gasses in their Climate Action Plan. Their first error was their failure to establish a statewide CEQA significance threshold for greenhouse gases, thereby leaving that task up to local jurisdictions, which are not equipped to even approach such a problem. That was a huge mistake because it resulted in greenhouse gasses being regulated by CEQA, which is not an efficient or effective process for such regulation. The second mistake was ARB's failure to establish a statewide process for reviewing and approving new sources of greenhouse gasses to ensure that the development of new large emission projects do not add significantly to the greenhouse emissions already being emitted. Once again, they punted this task to local jurisdictions. Instead the ARB took on the simple part of the problem (existing sources) leaving the more difficult part of the problem (new sources) to the locals. It should have been the opposite. The existing sources should have been regulated by local jurisdictions following broad and flexible state guidelines, while the new sources should have been regulated by a statewide process. What a mess!

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
November 14, 2013 at 5:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I hope a legal defense fund is established for SME to appeal this decision and review the basis of the findings the BOS relied upon to make their decision.

Any money left over needs to be spent on either a Doreen Farr recall campaign, or making sure she is replaced with a North County independent in the next election.

Time to also reinitiate the county spilt again. North County has resources to develop and a culture to preserve and the schism between North and South county values will only get worse.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 14, 2013 at 5:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Foo, that is a nearly full moon out tonight, not a falling sky that you must be expecting.

This oil developer had to pay some relatively tiny amount of cash to offset their carbon emissions and pollution. They are still free to donate to local social causes that have nothing to do with global warming.

And, yes, this is a local issue because we all share the same carbon-dioxide-enriched atmosphere.

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
November 14, 2013 at 7:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Why a Doreen Farr recall?? Janet Wolf is up for re-election next year against a democrat that actually gets it and has toured the SME operation. JANET WOLF IS AN IDIOT IN SEARCH OF DIRECTION. That direction is given to her and she follows orders like a good bought candidate. If you haven't noticed Janet is losing support left and left.

As much as it pains me to side with some of the right wing(nuts) I must agree this 10,000 number is absurd when compared to projects EVERY WHERE else. This IS NOT about safe numbers. It's about the environazi's being able to claim the power to stop any oil project, or project they don't agree with, in SB County. I saw a lot of the SB/ Montecito crowd voicing their opinions ($$) at the BOS about a project that DOES NOT effect them. Do you see them writing checks to pay for services the non-wealthy need.

EVERYONE else gave till it hurt during the recession cut backs. Time for the voters to show the insane enviros it's their time to give by throwing out Janet "Huh" Wolf.

Validated (anonymous profile)
November 14, 2013 at 7:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes Foo! Please let the North County split off to become one of the most impoverished counties in California and give the South County all our tax money back that flows north every year. I would bet that Southern Santa Barbara County would be one of the wealthiest counties in California without the economic drag of the North County. Also, we would never again have to worry about our neighbors to the north affecting our public policy decisions. However, that would be wrong. It is just the morally right thing to do to send all that tax money north. But Foo, you got me excited there for a moment.

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
November 14, 2013 at 7:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@JA... You're right. We all share the same atmosphere, so making one project meet insane numbers is ridiculous. Just so you know... SBC does not have it's own atmosphere. We share it with the whole world.

I would support raising property taxes 200% on the enviros expensive homes in SB and Montecito, and forego the oil projects, to pay for underfunded county services. You in with me?

Validated (anonymous profile)
November 14, 2013 at 7:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Validated , get your facts straight . " Environazi's( listen to Limbaugh much?) ...being able to stop any oil project" . Nobody is stopping this project. SME can meet these standards by employing pollution mitigation practices that will add $1 (one effing dollar) to each barrel produced. Nobody is " stopping" this project and SME still stands to profit handsomely . They might have to get new beemers only every two years instead of one , and skip a few rounds of golf but they will make millions regardless.

geeber (anonymous profile)
November 15, 2013 at 3:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Interesting that the climate change true believers are ignoring the fact that the climate has been cooling for the last 15 years (maybe that's why it's no longer called global warming). Where are the objective scientists?

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
November 15, 2013 at 8:24 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"Rose’s first claim is that the world is cooling. This is simply wrong. There’s long been a claim that global warming has stopped, but this too is wrong. Surface temperatures haven’t increased as much as they did a decade or so ago, but we now understand that the extra heat from global warming is getting stored in the oceans. Surface temperatures are a piece of the puzzle, but like their name implies, they don’t probe the depths of the problem. Remember too that nine of the 10 hottest years since 1880 have been in the past decade."

Don't know if you can handle all of the science. A simple summary - "nine of the 10 hottest years since 1880 have been in the past decade." That is NOT cooling.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
November 15, 2013 at 9:01 a.m. (Suggest removal)

JohnLocke gets an F:

“Taking 1998 as the starting year is a joke,” says Pieter Tans, a climate scientist who worked on the IPCC report. “Why not 1997 or 1999? Anyone doing this gets an ‘F’ grade in introductory statistics."

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
November 15, 2013 at 9:09 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"F" often comes to mind when I read JohnLocke's comments.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 15, 2013 at 12:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

FYI: I can't stand that fat bag of BS Limbaugh. He stole 'environazi' from me.

I really don't care how much SME makes. I care about getting a safe revenue generating project off the ground. The softball project that this is clearly shows who pulls the strings with those 3 on the BOS. It's not the labor unions, it's the activists that have reputations to protect. EDC, GOO, ect have all said not another oil project in SB County, and that's what they've gotten.

Remember the little golf resort project in Lompoc a few years ago? That was another example of them pulling their BOS slave's short hairs, and the project had NO impact on them. It was just them flexing their paid for votes.

Wake up people.

Validated (anonymous profile)
November 15, 2013 at 2:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

North County is willing to drill for oil. I no longer see them as impoverished as was presented in the last county split vote.

Let Santa Barbara figure out how they can afford to support their half of the county they have now hamstrung in enviro straight-jackets. Taxing the rich should work just fine for South County, since both Hope Ranch and Montecito would be in the new county as their very own inbred cash cows.

Go for it, North County -- and keep the name for yourself. Between oil, wine and the Chumash, you are going to be rolling in dough. Bring back America's greatness in the All-American City.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 15, 2013 at 4:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ask the plants to vote because they love C02. Ag land only does better with more C02. This is basic science; not junk science. Plant a tree or more wine grapes. Or ask everyone to stop breathing. You decide.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 15, 2013 at 4:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Tabetha, You are linking the Leftie Gaurdian, the junk science Discover Mag and who know what your third "Hotwhopper" impeccable reference is. Did you have any experience in your entire K-12 history that taught you critical thinking? I am serious. You might as well cite the National Enquirer or get a statement from Bat Boy. You got punked.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 15, 2013 at 4:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Poobiter , you are about the only person I have ever heard praise the Chumash Casino as an asset to the community. Also , regarding your wicked little split proposition I can guarantee you that the Santa Ynez Valley folk would not walk the plank to join the north.

geeber (anonymous profile)
November 15, 2013 at 5:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Geeber: I'm assuming Foofighter is being sarcastic and you missed the point--at least I'm hoping so.

If I'm wrong, than let me say that when I moved up the Valley in 2005 it was (as it had been in years past when I would visit up there) a healthy, thriving place, but human nature is such that when people already have a good thing, they want more--even if it is at the expense of the public good. As for the Casino, it's a magnet for druggies and seedy types of all stripes. While they do have an excellent buffet that I've visited a number of times, there were some pretty scary looking people in there. I have a Navy Seal aquaintance who says that even he gets nervious walking through the gambling area.

The wine industry--like the Casino--does NOT benefit the average person in the Valley (not that there was anything wrong BEFORE these entities entered onto the scene) but puts $$$ into the hands of a few people and adds much more traffic, and impaired drivers onto the road. The quaility of life has gone down for the average person in terms of negotiating the roads and having to deal with the drunken/gambler energy and the fact that the only selling points the Valley has now are booze and gambiling. So much for the "All American" label. (Which again, I'm assuming is sarcasm. No?)

The arrant hypocrisy is the fact that the do-gooder anti-Casino crowd (who also rail against the Killer Weed of marijuana) have a love affair with the booze industry that would Romeo and Juliet's love affair look like an abusive relationship (All the while they proudly flaunt their all-American image) but after all, drunk drivers aren't as dangerous as some poor wretch firing up a joint in their own house, right?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
November 15, 2013 at 8:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"that would *make* Romeo...."

billclausen (anonymous profile)
November 15, 2013 at 8:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

OK, foofighter - here is a critical thinking challenge for you. Explain why scientists think CO2 is linked to global warming, and why they are wrong.

I would have far more respect for you if you did not use labeling, did not use ad hominem attacks to attempt to win your argument. Nothing you have said is a rational scientific argument or could sway anyone one way or the other.

The only thing that would possibly change my mind, is if you could answer the first question using science. Otherwise you failed.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
November 15, 2013 at 9:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

foo - here is something to start you on your journey to an answer.

Physical (Properties and Changes)
Physical Property
A physical property is one that is displayed without any change in composition. (Intensive or Extensive)

Chemical (Properties and Changes)
Chemical Property: Any characteristic that gives a sample of matter the ability/inability to undergo a change that alters its composition.
Chemical Change: Change in which one or more kinds of matter are transformed to new kinds of matter with altered compositions.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
November 15, 2013 at 10:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Foo, you are a laugh riot. Climate change is projected to cause drought conditions on the Central and South Coasts of California. All those CO2 breathing plants won't benefit much from the extra CO2 if there is no water. And don't expect it to flow down from the North. They will keep the water they need if there is a drought before sending it south. In the last 30 years, the largest number of jobs provided by the oil and gas industry is about 1,000, no a lot. The casino might provide some income, but it does not pay its way with regard to taxes for infrastructure and the social damage that casinos create. Agricultural makes a lot of money for a few folks and little dribs and drabs for all the workers, many of whom have multiple jobs to survive. So tell me how North County survives without the cash flow from the South.

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
November 15, 2013 at 10:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Here is the reality of the situation: Santa Barbara County is arguably the most geographically desirable place in the country, but for decades it's been out of reach financially for the working-class and nothing I see on the horizon indicates the financial situation will change.

The wealthy from places afar will see how nice the weather is here and be willing to pay the inflated prices while anyone outside the financial Brahmin caste will be pushed out of the area or out on to the streets.

While I respect the good intentions of many of you I see this as I would see people fighting over deck chair arrangements on a sinking ship.
Time to bail the water out and plug the holes otherwise it's meaningless.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
November 16, 2013 at 7:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Ok, this thread is getting silly, first of all there is nothing funny about calling people names. "Poobiter" is NOT funny! Making poo jokes is juvenile and crass, and not up to the standard of excellence I expect from you people.

"Environazi" is not funny, nazis are bad people, I saw a lot of world war 2 films where I learned they are the bad guys..

@Validated, per your comments about Janet Wolf you do not need to shout, DONT SHOUT!>>>IT'S RUDE!

@Tabitha, the "other side of the world", know ye not that much of the problem is coming from the other side of the world in the form of India and China's lack of environmental standards?

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
November 16, 2013 at 7:37 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I believe I was discussing the science of global warming, not where it is coming from. I do not believe that foo understands anything about the science of global warming. The discussion of the use of CO2 by plants in connection with the green house gas effect of CO2 is like comparing apples and oranges - and indicates a lack of basic science comprehension.

Per capita, US emissions are higher than China by a factor of about 5. As for total emissions, while China is going up and the US is going down, they are about equal right now. India, in total emissions, is lower than both China and the US, and has flatlined since the 1990s ---- and per capita is way, way less than US. Thus the US still has a long way to go to lessen its use per person of GHS - it is one of the highest in the world.

Here is a handy chart to compare:

tabatha (anonymous profile)
November 16, 2013 at 8:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Tabetha: Coincidence is not causation. You can't prove a negative. Don't be so enamored with "consensus" as a surrogate for fact. Follow the money, before you put your own capital on crack-pot theories.

Recognize you alone have claimed this high ground on this issue with no justification and are now demanding someone else knock you off your junk science perch. Not sure you will get any of this, but again at any point in your K-12 career were you taught critical thinking.

Mother Earth will take care of her self and you can't turn the clock back on the 7 billion plus who now inhabit her. Unless you are suggesting mass genocide you are not going to return Mother Earth to your version of pristine fantasy.

Take off your hair shirt, tabetha. Live well and thrive. And keep your own backyard clean.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 16, 2013 at 8:41 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Drill baby drill in North County. Gold is right under your feet up there. Working class people will simply have to move to areas working class people can afford. The rest of you need to love quinoa grown in your own backyard, if you want to stay here which has always been a desert environment. Were you led to believe otherwise?

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 16, 2013 at 8:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)

foofighter's comments are like something generated from one of those random right-wing comment generators. I'm becoming more and more convinced that there's not a real person behind that pseudonym. Case in point:

@foofighter: "Coincidence is not causation. You can't prove a negative. Don't be so enamored with 'consensus' as a surrogate for fact. Follow the money, before you put your own capital on crack-pot theories. "

This displays such unbridled ignorance with regards to the process of scientific research that it's almost disturbing to think that foofighter - presumably - has received any sort of education. If it were up to him, medical practices would largely consist of bloodlettings and leeches - since, ya' know, we shouldn't be beholden to such things as scientific consensus.

EatTheRich (anonymous profile)
November 16, 2013 at 9:39 a.m. (Suggest removal)

OMG, scientific consensus found leeches and maggots are in fact "good medicine":

After all, this was reported in USA Today, back in 2004

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 16, 2013 at 9:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Troll-foo blathers on...and on... get a dayjob, man, maybe you can "move to areas working class people can afford" ... Eat, he's just enjoying yanking the chain, harmless in truth.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
November 16, 2013 at 10:07 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I hear the sound of some ideologues heads imploding. As Jack Nicholson famously said …… you just can't handle the truth.

Or equally famously, it was also said: Seek the truth, and the truth shall set you free.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 16, 2013 at 10:14 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@foofighter: "Or equally famously, it was also said: Seek the truth, and the truth shall set you free.."

Yes, that quote from the bible, which you misquoted, is just as 'famous' as a 21year old Jack Nicholson film quote. Astounding.

You're like a work of art.

EatTheRich (anonymous profile)
November 16, 2013 at 11:27 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The hits keep coming.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 16, 2013 at 11:28 a.m. (Suggest removal)

& oh man does troll-foo need those hits, eh? An ideologue's delight.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
November 16, 2013 at 1:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Coincidence is not causation -- and Repetition is not truth.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
November 16, 2013 at 2:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

troll foo adores Rand Paul, but here's what Prof. Susan Behrens writes about the FOO-lish Tea Party darling, who, like foo, doesn't know plagiarism is using another's words without acknowledging it:
"Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky says that to silence the charges of plagiarism against him, he is going to start using footnotes in his writing, “like college papers.” He also claims that at least one of his texts cited as plagiarized wasn’t, because he didn’t mean to deceive.
Mr. Paul’s promise to start following the research practices of college students means that he has to learn the true definition of plagiarism: using someone else’s work or ideas without attribution. This includes even doing so accidentally, or what our college librarian recently referred to as 'plagiarism by ignorance. '

DrDan (anonymous profile)
November 16, 2013 at 4:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

DD, you know more about this guy than I do. What is the fascination?

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 16, 2013 at 7:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Tabatha: While I won't dispute the figures provided, I'm also reading between the lines and asking myself "what percentage of their populations are driving cars and otherwise contributing to greenhouse gases?"

While I'm well aware of their much larger populations, it's safe so say that a much smaller percentage of their people are contributing to the mess but with their techonogies on the rise they may well surpass us in that area.

I would be interested to see statistics showing the actual numbers of people in all three countries who drive cars, what types of cars, etc.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
November 16, 2013 at 9:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The electricity for electric cars has to be generated somehow. And the engines still require oil for lubrication etc. Plus oil will still be needed for asphalt on the roads, plastic for the interiors.. plus the energy required to construct the car and it's parts.
I wonder what percentages are for oil use to produce plastics vs. running automobiles (with and without including manufacture and infrastructure.)

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 16, 2013 at 11:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm not trying to be flippant Ken but when we pass gas we are contributing to the problem.

There will always be bad things going into the atmosphere, the goal is to get it down to a point that is manageable, unless we are seeing entropy taking hold.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
November 17, 2013 at 6:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@Dr Dan: Maybe "Coincidence is not causation -- and Repetition is not truth." should be applied to the religious belief in climate change.

@Tabatha: " "nine of the 10 hottest years since 1880 have been in the past decade" does not contradict the claim that the climate has been cooling for the past 15 years". All that is required for both your and my statements to be simultaneously true is the the cooling started from a high peak 15 years ago. Logic 101, my friend.

And the real issue is whether climate change is manmade or not, not that climate change is happening.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
November 17, 2013 at 1:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@JohnLocke: " Maybe "Coincidence is not causation -- and Repetition is not truth." should be applied to the religious belief in climate change."

Nearly every scientific body worth its salt in the field of climatology has come to the conclusion that global warming is man made. It is the furthest thing from a 'religious belief' you can get.

Now the deniers, on the other hand - they're the ones who exhibit a belief in something for which there is no evidence. The fact that there are people still in denial about the nature of global warming speaks more to level of ignorance permeating our society than it does about the evidence at hand.

EatTheRich (anonymous profile)
November 17, 2013 at 2:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Wow, surprising EatTheRich is so into authority figures. I would not have guessed. I thought we had an aging 1960's antiestablishment rebel in our midst. Live and learn.

How exactly does a "scientific body" get worth its salt? Serious question.
Quantify "nearly every" because you have some pretty competent deniers right here at UCSB. And there is all that pesky sun spot climate cycle evidence to also pepper the stew.

Again EatTheRich is genocide the answer, if you insist this is "man-made"?

Looks like the little ladies got off the hook on this one. So maybe only 3.5 billion man people need to change their ways, instead of all 7 billion. Which is odd because they are the ones most responsible for breeding all these terrible men who go on to do man-made things.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
November 17, 2013 at 2:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Everyone commenting on this issue should read a fascinating article in The Economist a few weeks ago regarding the dismal state of scientific research. It addresses specifically such things as the politicization of research results, the lack of peer review, and the paucity of research that challenges the politically acceptable view. Not on any specific topic, but on science in general in the current day.

Also, don't forget that 500 years ago people absolutely knew that the world was flat and 100 years ago people absolutely knew that Newtonian physics was the last word. Good science is meant to be challenged.

@K_V: sounds like you're still smarting from that tarbaby discussion. Started using the dictionary yet?

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
November 18, 2013 at 8:13 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@JohnLocke: "Everyone commenting on this issue should read a fascinating article in The Economist a few weeks ago regarding the dismal state of scientific research."

It's funny that, when I read that article, I just knew that the anti-intellectuals on the right would be holding it up as some badge of honor against academics. It was really a nonsense article - one of many published by The Economist (still waiting for Sweden to implement that harsh spending-side austerity the Right was bragging about...).

@JohnLocke: "Also, don't forget that 500 years ago people absolutely knew that the world was flat and 100 years ago people absolutely knew that Newtonian physics was the last word. "

Absolutely, 100% wrong. It was based on the best evidence at the time. No one claimed to have the final answer, nor do they now. But if you don't make decisions based on the best evidence you have, and instead make decisions based on the assumption that the best evidence will be proven incorrect, then you live in a fanstasy world - which is fine, but when your risking the entire planet, you may want to gamble with the odds.

EatTheRich (anonymous profile)
November 18, 2013 at 10:07 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Global warming has not stopped - it has just slowed down in the last several years. The fact that it has not stopped or reversed, still means that some of the hottest years have been in recent years.

What would be the best way to prove that man-made pollutants are the major cause of global warming/climate change? Why to remove some of them, and observe the slowing down of global warming.

"Back in 1988, more than 40 countries, including the United States, signed the Montreal Protocol, an agreement to phase out the use of ozone-depleting gases like chlorofluorocarbons. (Today the protocol has nearly 200 signatories.) According to the Environmental Protection Agency, CFC emissions are down 90 percent since the protocol, a drop that the agency calls "one of the largest reductions to date in global greenhouse gas emissions." That's a blessing for the ozone layer, but also for the climate. CFCs are a potent heat-trapping gas, and a new analysis published in Nature Geoscience finds that slashing them has been a major driver of the much-discussed slowdown in global warming."

Other slowing factors include increase in uptake of heat by ocean - which was discussed in one of the links provided earlier.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
November 18, 2013 at 12:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hey tabatha, have you ever thought that as the atmosphere gets hotter either from solar activity or what have you CO2 levels may increase due to the rise in temperatures instead of the other way around?

"The question of “which comes first, the temperature or the CO2 rise?” has been much like the proverbial “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” question. This seems to settle it – temperature came first, followed by an increase in CO2 outgassing from the ocean surrounding Antarctica."

Secondly, JohnLocke makes a good point - temperatures have generally fallen over the last 15 years when climate scientists claimed that we should be seeing exponential increases due to CO2 increases during the last 100+ years. 15 years is VERY SIGNIFICANT if you think that our CO2 output is responsible for the increases that we have seen and if you believe what the IPCC has said about climate change.

This graph should make anybody who believes in man made global warming take a step back and look a little closer at what is going on here:

I think CO2 is awesome. So do plants. Plants and trees. They LOVE CO2 so much, they grow so much better and faster with more CO2. What is bad is the toxic components that come with the CO2, and that is what real environmentalists should be focused on, not CO2 output.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
November 18, 2013 at 3:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hey tabatha, maybe you just found the secret to the puzzle. Maybe we experienced some warming due to CFC output. I haven't seen the science on either side, but the data does seem to correlate.

To be clear, I am all for finding ways to decrease output of CFCs.. but to throw the baby out with the bath water - CO2 is not toxic, we have had much higher concentrations in our atmosphere for example during the 1300s when we had the medieval warming period and experienced even warmer temperatures.

So like the last discussion we had about this - if we had two projects and one of them had a CO2 output of 5 tons per unit and .1 tons of CFCs, and another project had a CO2 output of 10 tons per unit and .05 tons of CFCs, then a new government program to discourage CO2 output may have us outputting greater amounts of CFCs which are toxic.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
November 18, 2013 at 4:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

event calendar sponsored by: