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Water Contamination, Too


Thank you for shedding light on the huge increase in steam injection headed our way. The article did fail to mention, however, the vast quantities of highly polluted water that comes back up with the oil. Even if chemicals are not added to it, that water is contaminated with boron, lead, arsenic, radioactive materials, carcinogens like benzene, and other substances. It was this polluted water that leached into the ground and killed almond orchards in Kern County for which a farmer received an $8 million dollar settlement from AERA, one of the companies now applying for hundreds of new steam injection wells here in Santa Barbara County.

Steam injection has all the same issues as fracking, such as heavy water use, toxic wastewater that could contaminate aquifers, terrible health impacts, and a tremendous amount of derricks, engines, tanks and other visual blight that would turn our beautiful rolling hills into industrial wastelands. The issue with seeps, leaks, explosions, and the huge greenhouse gas emissions make it even worse than fracking.

Nor is it good for jobs. Oil employs less than one percent of the county workforce, and the projected increase in extreme extraction puts the other 99 percent of our economy at risk since it negatively impacts our major industries of agriculture, tourism, wine, and tech. It also drives down property values and property tax revenue. In other places, people have been unable to get loans and insurance near these kinds of operations.

We can protect Santa Barbara County from this onslaught of extreme extraction by voting yes for Measure P in November.

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