Voters Have Spoken

The activists are at it again — trying to stop domestic oil production and forgetting that Santa Barbara County voters rejected an energy industry shutdown initiative in the last election by a decisive margin.

Santa Barbara County voters understood that local jobs and local tax dollars would be in jeopardy if a ban on locally produced oil were to become a reality. They also realized that less energy produced here means more reliance on foreign oil imported from places that do not have the same environmental protections as we have here in California. Not to mention that tankering oil across vast oceans poses a much larger threat to our environment.

The president’s own Secretary of the Interior cautioned against energy bans, going so far as to say that proponents “don’t understand the science.” In his recent State of the Union address, President Obama cited the increase in domestic oil and gas production as an American success story and boon to the United States economy.

California has the toughest regulations in the world governing hydraulic fracturing. Those state regulations mandated a statewide comprehensive scientific study into this particular well-stimulation technique. The state recently released a draft of the peer-reviewed report, which was written by a team of scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and the California Council on Science and Technology. These experts looked at water quality and earthquake risk and found “less-than-significant” environmental concerns.

Siding with science, rather than hype, shows that protecting our energy future and environment are not mutually exclusive.

Joe Armendariz is executive director of the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association.

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