Last week’s endorsements included an explanation of The Independent‘s non-endorsement of “one of the most painful initiatives with which this paper has ever wrestled.” It proceeds to describe how Measure P’s efforts to ban high-intensity petroleum operations, including fracking, acidizing and steam-injection methods, is a laudable attempt in the face of “an industry with one of the most disastrous, deceitful, polluting records in modern history.” The Independent‘s opposition to Measure P apparently stems from the fact that the legal language in the measure itself has some tiny cracks that if voted to be passed by the people of Santa Barbara County, will result in the fossil fuel industry, with its legions of fancy-pants lawyers, proceeding to start endless, costly litigation to circumvent the will of the people.

That in itself should be enough to inform every citizen who is concerned about the fragile state of our water (cyclic steam injection uses millions of gallons of precious water that ends up infused with a cocktail of toxic chemicals that even if it does manage to stay sequestered deep under the ground and not leach, forever removes that water from our usable water table), as well as the safety of using a technology that has been proven to stimulate “swarms of small earthquakes.” Given that we live under Damocles’ Sword of real earthquake threat, plus the oldest nuclear reactor in California that sits a bit up coast from us on what has recently been identified as four earthquake faults, to proceed with the rush to these thousands of proposed wells is unconscionably reckless.

Let the behemoth of the fossil fuel industry bring on their lawyers to block the will of the people. It is indeed a frightening thought to be tied up in expensive litigation. However, destruction of our fragile environment is much more so, on a more real and lasting scale. Those lawyers are, in the final analysis, not working for us.


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