High-intensity extraction is bad for Santa Barbara County. Regardless of whether oil companies use fracking, acidization, or steam injection, the risks are the same. All of these techniques use and pollute water, hurt our health, increase air pollution, and can trigger earthquakes. If you are skeptical, take a visit to Kern County and see what it’s like to be surrounded by thousands of wells.
Nor will this be good for our economy. Peter Rupert of the UCSB Economic Forecast project observed that “Oil and gas is kind of a strange industry in the sense that the employment share is pretty low — less than 1 percent.” And it discourages growth in other, more sustainable, and more job-creating economic development. Again, look at Kern County, which has unemployment higher than Santa Maria or Lompoc. Do we want that here?
A fracking pollution fiasco in the Central Valley just demonstrated that the industry isn’t prepared to dispose of its wastewater legally or safely. California’s Water Board confirmed that the industry illegally injected fracking wastewater (nearly 3 billion gallons of it) into aquifers protected by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. There is no getting this contamination back out of the water — water that our state sorely needs for drinking, washing, and agriculture. In our own county, Measure P would ward off such a dangerous and massive surge in oil industry wastewater.
Measure P doesn’t apply to current oil operations or any conventional drilling, but it would halt this massive ramp up in risky extraction. If we hand over our county to oil speculators experimenting with damaging techniques, we could find our water and land permanently contaminated, our property values lost, our friends and neighbors sick, and no way to go back. Vote “yes” on Measure P.