Deny the Risk

Just as the tobacco industry continued to deny the risks associated with smoking long after the science was in on its dangers, the oil industry is falsely denying that there are any earthquake risks associated with extreme oil extraction processes.

This is what the petroleum industry says when confronted with evidence about the link between earthquakes and fracking. Oklahoma: not proven yet. Ohio: not the same as here. Better yet, they try to argue for beneficial impacts. Thus the claim that small earthquakes might make big earthquakes less likely — a totally unsupported assertion that has no support in scientific literature. The opposite might be true.

A recent report from the federal Bureau of Land Management just reported on a scientific study in which the authors attributed the occurrence of a 3.5 magnitude earthquake to a hydraulic fracture injection at the Orcutt oilfield in the Santa Maria basin, noting that there is a concentration of earthquakes near oil wastewater injection wells in the Santa Maria basin in Santa Barbara County (page 274).

Do we wait until these extreme oil extraction processes cause more problems here, or do we take action now to prevent them?

I’ll make the smart choice and vote yes on Measure P.


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