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<h3>Environment</h3>

Ever since the infamous Santa Barbara oil spill of 1969, the South Coast has been an undeniable force in the environmental movement.

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After nine years of grassroots efforts, Heal the Ocean's plan to convert homes on the world-famous Rincon Point from septic tanks to a sewer system in the name of better water quality seemed poised to become a reality this fall after a majority of homeowners approved the plan. Closely scrutinized by a gaggle of lawyers, the vote sanctioned by the Carpinteria Sanitary District officials (pictured above) is currently in limbo as legal jockeying continues to run rampant, guaranteeing that the issue will see at least a 10th year of fierce public debate in 2008.

Published on December 19, 2007

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S.B.-led opposition helped sink a controversial plan from the world's largest mining corporation, BHP Billiton, to put a floating Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal just south of Anacapa Island. Armed with knowledge and informed skepticism from people like the Community Environmental Council's Tam Hunt, longtime ocean activist Susan Jordan, and the Environmental Defense Center's Linda Krop (pictured above, left to right).

Published on December 19, 2007

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The California State Lands Commission peppered BHP spokesperson Craig Meyer with hard-hitting questions during a marathon 12-hour hearing in mid April. And there were other water wars, too.

Published on December 19, 2007

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Santa Barbara County is and always has been an agricultural community, from the modern grapevines (pictured above) to the historic rangelands. With the pressures of urban sprawl and astronomical property taxes making a hard line of work even harder, 2007 saw an as-yet unresolved debate flare up over our county's ag land development policies.

Published on December 19, 2007

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In the middle of the conflict-of-interest charges and farmer-on-farmer wrestling matches was long-time rancher and former county supervisor Willie Chamberlin.

Published on December 19, 2007

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Similar drama carried into the urban landscape as well when State Street business owners beat down what would have been an in-your-face reminder of global warming. Called the Light BlueLine, Artist Bruce Caron (pictured above) was inches from being allowed to trace a Light BlueLine across the downtown area indicting an estimated rise in ocean levels. But the proposal was withdrawn before the Santa Barbara City Council could even vote on it, amid a whirlwind of opposition.

Published on December 19, 2007

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