I wonder if the oil company spokespeople understand why there is grave concern about thousands of oil wells in Santa Barbara County. They seem to assume that all we care about is the amount of money that they claim flows all over and around oil operations. As a result, they attempt to mislead us about the high paying jobs, either by claiming that all oil drilling jobs will disappear if Measure P is passed or by declaring that local workers will immediately get high paying jobs if Measure P is defeated. Both statements are factually bogus. First, the current oil operations and the jobs connected to them will not be affected by Measure P. How many times does that have to be said before the oil companies will stop giving out such blatant misinformation? Second, if one looks at every other community that has been overtaken by oil company drilling operations, one finds out that about 80 percent of the laborers are nonlocal, temporary workers. Just read the March 2013 National Geographic article about Williston, ND. There are “man camps” of workers who were brought in by the oil companies.
I also doubt the oil company claims about what a boon these wells will be to our county when I realize that a Beijing, China, oil company has just purchased ERG Energy and is thus one of the players in this game. I doubt that China Gold Leaf cares one whit about the people, workers or otherwise, of this county. They’ll make piles of money for themselves and get the oil as well.
Finally, when I consider what Santa Barbara County will look like with thousands of oil drilling operations, I don’t just see the wells themselves, I see monster trucks driving through all the towns that are between the wells and 154 or 101. Again, check National Geographic for photos of what Williston, ND, deals with every day. And I haven’t even mentioned the water issue yet. If we are talking about money, how much will it cost to bring water to this county when the oil companies have taken millions of gallons out of our supply?
As a 24-year resident of this county, I have some understanding of what makes this a special place that is renowned all over the globe for its natural beauty, its peaceful life style, and its decades-long commitment to protecting what we are very fortunate to have.
I plan to honor that commitment by voting yes on Measure P.