While all residents of southern Santa Barbara County are dreaming of a few storms to refill Lake Cachuma, it is interesting to reflect on where we would be if the Environmental Defense Center, the Sierra Club, and the myriad other special interest environmental organizations that dictate to us now had existed in the 1950s when Bradbury Dam was built. Surely they would have fought long and hard to stop creation of a water reservoir that would inundate a pristine river valley. Furthermore, if an abundant source of water was created, it would just draw more people and growth to the area.
For that matter, they would have never on their dead bodies allowed an airport to be constructed on precious wetlands such as the Goleta Slough. A four-lane highway through the scenic and precious Gaviota Coast would be an abomination. The Coastal Commission would never have permitted the building of our yacht and fishing harbor if it didn’t already exist. There would have never been one barrel of oil every extracted from our land or the sea.
It is very fortunate indeed for our city and region that these groups did not gain the excess power that they now have until well after the infrastructure necessary to make Santa Barbara economically viable and livable was in place.