John Darkow, Columbia Daily Tribune, Missouri

Taxpayers Should Oppose Proposed Fracking Ban

Jobs, Revenues, and Energy Independence Depend on It

The Central Coast’s energy industry is vital to the economic health of the region — producing thousands of jobs and millions per year in tax revenue. Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is an important technology in our statewide energy portfolio. Fracking allows us to access our domestic oil and gas in a safe, reliable manner.

That’s why the Central Coast Taxpayers Association opposes the anti-fracking ballot initiative that will appear on the November ballot in Santa Barbara County. A fracking ban would stifle the energy boom and needlessly put at risk thousands of jobs and our region’s fragile economic recovery.

Santa Barbara taxpayers should embrace fracking. Fracking technology is being used safely all over the world: from California to Canada, North Dakota to the Netherlands. It provides well-paying jobs and much-needed revenues for local governments, reducing the tax burden on all taxpayers. It has led to a five-year decrease in natural gas prices and fueled a domestic manufacturing boom.

In large part due to fracking technology, energy independence for the United States is now within reach for the first time in history.

The economic benefits of fracking are undeniable. But it is also environmentally beneficial. The increase in shale oil and gas has meant less domestic reliance on coal, which is considered a more polluting energy source.

Supporters of the proposed ban raise environmental concerns, but they do not have evidence on their side. There is no data showing that water pollution or earthquake activity results from the use of fracking technology. Indeed, Governor Brown — a career environmentalist — supports fracking with reasonable regulations.

Banning such an efficient and clean technology — particularly on a local level — makes little sense. It would do nothing but push jobs and tax revenue elsewhere.

Instead, we must strive for reasonable, science-based regulations on the state and federal level. We should facilitate public debate about how we can best harness the tremendous benefits of fracking technology while maintaining its environmental safety record.

Fracking is a safe and proven method for extracting our natural resources, growing our economy, and providing much-needed jobs and tax revenues for our local communities. For the sake of taxpayers on the Central Coast, we urge you to oppose the Santa Barbara County Fracking Ban Initiative this November 4th.

Jordan Cunningham is president of the Central Coast Taxpayers Association, based in Templeton, California:

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