The Grassroots Speak

It’s not surprising that the president of an association representing “oil and gas royalty owners’ interests” would oppose Measure P, an initiative to ban fracking, acidizing, and steam injection in Santa Barbara County.

What is surprising is that he would accuse “special interests” of being behind Measure P. That “special interest” would simply be all the rest of us who aren’t personally profiting from a risky expansion in water-intensive and polluting oil extraction.

It would include those of us whose water, air, and health are put at risk from these techniques. It would include property owners whose property values could decline (and have done so across the country) due to nearby fracking and other extreme extraction. It includes any of us who care about preserving a beautiful and healthy environment. It includes those of us concerned about the 99 percent of our local county economy that is not directly or indirectly related to oil extraction, such as tech, tourism, farming, and wine production, and other industries that would be negatively impacted by extreme oil extraction and potential groundwater contamination, visual blight, and other impacts.

Economic scare tactics are just that. According to authors of the UC Santa Barbara economic impact study, the oil industry self-reported 336 direct employees in Santa Barbara County, and none of those jobs are affected by Measure P as the measure does not apply to existing operations or future conventional extraction. Meanwhile, the wildly inflated job numbers cited by opponents come from a study on the Western Petroleum website that includes things like gas station employees and other jobs unrelated to oil extraction.

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