The Petroleum Economy

Recently, I have read many letters which recommend Santa Barbara County become a center of high-technology and alternative-energy business. I must say, though, that to have a truly vibrant and resilient economy, Santa Barbara County must take full advantage of every resource available, especially the county’s natural resources. One aspect of high technology in the county is the petroleum industry, which has been an important part of the county’s economic backbone for over a century, with an excellent record of safety.

Now supporters of Measure P want to severely restrict the oil industry. While they say they want to ban fracking, which is not used here, they also want to restrict cyclic steaming and acidizing, which have been used safely for over 50 years and are vital for oil production.

I fear that Measure P will cause great harm to an industry that has operated safely and has made great contributions to the county. It would also take away even greater economic benefits as future expansion will be eliminated. Its harm would be greatest here in the North County where most of the oil company and oil service employees, and their families, live. Besides its direct economic harm, administration of its provisions and exemptions would require an additional expansion of county bureaucracy, at considerable expense, paid for with our tax dollars. I ask you to consider Measure P, and the potential harm it would do, very carefully before you cast your ballot. I ask you to join me in voting “No” on Measure P. Santa Barbara County needs a strong, vibrant economy, and the petroleum industry is a very important element in that.

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