At its April meeting, the board of the Summerland Citizens Association voted to endorse the initiative currently being circulated to ban “High-Intensity Petroleum Operations” in Santa Barbara County.
As the site of the first offshore oil drilling operation in the Western Hemisphere, our community has a long and problematic history with oil and its extraction. Our beach is still polluted with the residue of this early operation, and our town is pockmarked with abandoned wells and old bore holes.
Our town also sits on oil-rich shale, and we have special concerns about efforts to extract shale oil using enhanced recovery operations such as fracking, steam injection, and acid well stimulation. We believe such methods pose threats to both our air and our limited water supply.
The County of Santa Barbara derives its wealth from agriculture and tourism, not oil. While Summerland was once an oil town, it is now a charming village with thriving downtown businesses that depend on tourism. We support the initiative measure as being in the best interests of our community and the county as a whole.