‘A Gummy Day’

Forty-five years ago I wrote a case study of the 1969 blowout in which I quoted a Santa Barbaran, “If the oil had been spilled forty miles down the coast, it would have been just another gummy day in Ventura.” I’m glad that Ventura has narrowly escaped another gummy day.

The history of Santa Barbara and California has been bound to petroleum since the mid-19th century when the Carpinteria asphalt deposit was mined for illuminating oil, and visitors to Santa Barbara viewed the area’s natural oil seeps. In 1895 the world’s first offshore oil well was drilled at Summerland, and “the rest is history.” Although there have been continual leaks and spills — most unreported — from small (recently, Ventura) to devastating (Aliso Canyon gas leak), petroleum has been very good to California.

But I congratulate your state on its view beyond petroleum. On its impressive progress in conservation and efficiency and its deployment of renewable energy resources. Especially, I congratulate California on its innovative Energy Imbalance Market, a 21st-century distribution system and a modern business model for electric utilities that, I hope, will make the huge, polluting coal-fired base-load plant a thing of the past.

Lead on, to a cleaner future and a livable climate.


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