Eco Economics 101

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
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While all residents of southern Santa Barbara County are dreaming of a few storms to refill Lake Cachuma, it is interesting to reflect on where we would be if the Environmental Defense Center, the Sierra Club, and the myriad other special interest environmental organizations that dictate to us now had existed in the 1950s when Bradbury Dam was built. Surely they would have fought long and hard to stop creation of a water reservoir that would inundate a pristine river valley. Furthermore, if an abundant source of water was created, it would just draw more people and growth to the area.

For that matter, they would have never on their dead bodies allowed an airport to be constructed on precious wetlands such as the Goleta Slough. A four-lane highway through the scenic and precious Gaviota Coast would be an abomination. The Coastal Commission would never have permitted the building of our yacht and fishing harbor if it didn’t already exist. There would have never been one barrel of oil every extracted from our land or the sea.

It is very fortunate indeed for our city and region that these groups did not gain the excess power that they now have until well after the infrastructure necessary to make Santa Barbara economically viable and livable was in place.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

The groups mentioned have absolutely no power in the sense of enforcement; they simply challenge legality under CEQA on state and private land (in CA), and NEPA on federal land.

SB2SB (anonymous profile)
February 19, 2014 at 11:02 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Good points Glenn. If the EPA and radical environmental defense groups were around and as influential in the 1950's as they are now, SB would be mostly pristine wilderness and most of us would be living in 75 storey buildings in LA.

Botany (anonymous profile)
February 19, 2014 at 12:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

All these groups you speak of as if they run things are in fact spoons, so dull and impotent that your fear and hatred for them are laughable. The EPA is a tool for people and politicians to dump on, rally against, and give false hope to victims of polluters. So spineless and toothless this agency is. Keep fear alive. It is not interesting to watch one reflect on something serious and wander into fantasy land with 'dead bodies' and conjured scenarios of what you think others would have done, surely, because they are who they are?!?! In your reflection, you seem to blame these groups for what, no rain? A livable city? Glenn, step out of your earth suit and get some perspective. Your current one is not a good look.

spacey (anonymous profile)
February 19, 2014 at 12:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Actually, we have a livable city because of the foresight of our ancestors and lack of onerous regulation they had to deal with. Build a dam or an airport today? Hah! What dam in the USA has been built in the last 20 years? Lake Cachuma wouldn't exist with today's EPA. Do you own property? Not if the EPA says you don't. They can and do essentially condemn privately owned property to protect insects and vermin. If you find an endangered species on your property, you're better off killing it than trying to save it. That's the world we live in today.

Sure, some regulation is needed to protect the environment. But what we have today is not regulation, it's insanity.

Botany (anonymous profile)
February 19, 2014 at 12:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

So in other words , Dorfman , Botany ,Foo and all their build baby build friends would much rather Santa Barbara be Los Angeles than be Santa Barbara. I always say the results of your type of planning and permitting are all on full display starting just 45 short minutes south. Be my guest.

geeber (anonymous profile)
February 19, 2014 at 4:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You're not listening Geeber. I'd rather have Santa Barbara be the current Santa Barbara or maybe a little less. If SB hadn't already had the infrastructure, commercial and residential buildings that were built in earlier times, the environazis would try to make Santa Barbara look like the current Gaviota.

Botany (anonymous profile)
February 19, 2014 at 5:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Bot , is there any doubt that you support folks like Andy Caldwell , COLAB , Brooks Firestone and the rest of the north county good old boys who constantly attack the south coast for favoring controlled growth ?

geeber (anonymous profile)
February 19, 2014 at 6:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This letter is highly speculative. What else would one expect from a malpractice lawyer? :)

Here's a history of Cachuma and Bradbury Dam: Project

With the post-war boom in population (some of the old-timers I know tell me it was significant) and the droughts of the late 1940's and early 50's, county voters overwhelmingly approved funding.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2014 at 10:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Funding isn't the issue. That's actually the easy part. It's the myriad of lawsuits, EIR's and NIMBY reisistance that causes the problems. If all they had to do was build it, the cost would be far less than half.

Botany (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2014 at 10:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Again, the letter is highly speculative.

As for EIR's, that's part of the public vetting process. If Kmart wanted to build next to your house, you'd be begging for a review. You can't have it both ways.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2014 at 10:51 a.m. (Suggest removal)

yeah see....
Environmentalism has been around only 50 or so years see!
We'd probably would have national parks as far as the eye even if there weren't old fools like Teddy Roosevelt. Yeah that's the ticket see!

Wikipedia except:
For example, Theophrastus, a pupil of Aristotle, told how the draining of marshes had made a particular locality more susceptible to freezing, and he speculated that lands became warmer when the clearing of forests exposed them to sunlight.
I like to call it "ah burn"....

touristunfriendly (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2014 at 11:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)

NP today published a letter stating that Chinese company Goldleaf has bought privately owned ERG Resources, whose major assets are Santa Barbara Channel producing oil leases. China is currently destroying local environments in Greenland, Cagayan Province in the Philippines, Ghana, Tanzania, and Tibet. In Queensland, Australia, the China First mining company will destroy a nature preserve in the near future. In areas including Peru and Honduras, in addition to environmental destruction, local community and religious leaders have received death threats from Chinese mining company employees.
China has become Latin America’s biggest banker with $75 billion loaned since 2005 — which is more than the World Bank, the IDB and the U.S. Export-Import Bank combined. Beijing’s top regional borrowers are Ecuador and Venezuela, where Hugo Chavez has described his nation’s oil as “at the service of China.” As of this writing, Ecuador’s debt to China approaches a quarter of its GDP. China has been stockpiling gold, and has stopped accepting US dollars as payment on US debt, and is now claiming US resources as payment.
Think about the 16,000 diseased, decomposing pigs found in the river that supplies water for Shanghai’s 23 million people. China assured everyone: No worries, the water is clean. But one Shanghai resident told the London Telegraph, “I’m worried about the drinking water. It really, really stinks.”
That’s not the only problem of this sort. Early this month, authorities discovered a massive die-off of ducks, at least 1,000 of them, in the Nanhe River of southwestern Sichuan Province. Meanwhile, in the eastern city of Nanjing, residents are accusing several factories along the Yangtze River of dumping toxic effluent into the Yangtze River, killing thousands of fish, the Yangtze Evening News reported late last month.
To test the pollution level, the paper said, residents placed two large carp in a tank of river water. “Within 10 minutes, both fish were floating dead on top of the water,” the paper said, as quoted by Radio Free Asia.

Best wishes for the Santa Barbara Channel.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2014 at 7:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Actually...... Without the Bradbury dam, Santa Barbara would be much more of an agricultural county with farmers using plentiful well water. We would have maybe 10-20% of the population we have now, and the County's GDP would be much higher due to increased agricultural production. Much of the best agricultural soil got paved over to develop the cities.

Agriculture stil contributes the majority of Santa Barbara County's GDP. Without all the development of the last 50 years the economy would most likely be much stronger than it is now.

Just goes to show, that environmentalism and economic growth go hand in hand.

After agriculture, tourism is our next biggest economic industry. It also is dependent on healthy environmentalism. The places with the worst environmentalism are usually economically dead.

Georgy (anonymous profile)
February 21, 2014 at 1:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Georgy - You really might want to rethink that answer. Here is the GDP by industry for SB county for 2008. Many industries had a GDP contribution greater than agriculture. For SB County, finance is the largest industry by GDP followed by Real Estate. Ag is much further down on the list.

Botany (anonymous profile)
February 21, 2014 at 2 p.m. (Suggest removal)

" Agriculture continues to be the County’s major producing industry with a gross production value of almost $1.3 billion in 2012."

Georgy (anonymous profile)
February 22, 2014 at 8:56 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes, but what you're missing is that the goods producing economy is dwarfed by the services economy. The goods producing GDP of SB in 2008 was $4B. The service providing GDP of SB in 2008 was $12B. If you're suggesting that replacing the service economy of SB with agriculture, sorry the GDP of SB county will drop substantially. You're way off the mark here.

Botany (anonymous profile)
February 22, 2014 at 1 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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