City of Santa Barbara – Today, The FUND for Santa Barbara announced it has awarded a $3,000 Emerging Need Grant to the Santa Barbara County Water Guardians, a grassroots group of concerned local citizens who are trying to ban fracking, cyclic steaming and other high-intensity oil and gas extraction in Santa Barbara County.

Hundreds of volunteers with the Water Guardians are currently gathering the necessary 13,200 registered county voters to qualify “The Healthy Air and Water Initiative to Ban Fracking” for the November ballot. They are concerned about the increase in new and “re-worked” wells using toxic chemicals and risky techniques that pose threats of water contamination, air pollution and health impacts, as well as the sound and visual blight from increased industrial production that would harm the beauty and quality of life that make Santa Barbara County a desirable place to live and work.

The Water Guardians is all-volunteer run coalition and is operating a grassroots campaign. The grant will help cover the legal costs associated with drafting the initiative. The initiative was written by the San Francisco law firm of Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP which has extensive experience in land use and environmental issues, along with Nathan Alley of Limestone Associates, who has deep knowledge of the specific issues and laws relevant to SB County.

“This is exactly the kind of social justice issue and direct action that The FUND is looking to support,” said Elena Richardson, Grants Program Manager forThe FUND for Santa Barbara. “We are impressed by the rapid organizing, coalition building and success of the Guardians efforts to date. The FUND’s Emerging Need Grant program is designed to provide immediate financial assistance to respond to grassroots organizing that emerges within the community”

“We are grateful to the FUND for their support,” said Rebecca Claassen with the SB County Water Guardians, “This is the biggest threat to our local environment and county residents. We need to head off the dirtiest and most polluting forms of unconventional fossil fuel production and transition to clean and local sources of energy.”

Santa Barbara County Water Guardians is a growing coalition of concerned parents, professionals, farmers, students and others opposed to fracking and other high-intensive petroleum operations that threaten our water quality and supplies in Santa Barbara County. They invite supporters to join our roster of volunteers who will be gathering signatures to qualify our initiative for the November ballot at:

The FUND FOR SANTA BARBARA is a 501c3 nonprofit community foundation dedicated to addressing the root causes of social, economic, environmental and political challenges in Santa Barbara County. The FUND supports community-based projects working for ‘Change, Not Charity’ through a variety of strategies including community organizing, direct action, popular education, legislative advocacy and the arts. Learn more at:


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