As a Santa Barbara native and a UCSB freshman, I think that California State Controller Betty Yee’s disapproval of and opposition to Venoco’s request to renew its lease and expand drilling in waters off our coast is highly respectable and a step in the right direction in terms of limiting fracking. Santa Barbara is home to the third largest oil spill in U.S. history which also happens to be the largest oil spill in California history (the 1969 Oil Spill). It released 80,000-100,000 barrels of crude oil into the water and onto the beaches of Santa Barbara. The 1969 oil spill had major impacts on wildlife and the quality of our coastal land and waters. Santa Barbara’s unique ecosystem is extremely vulnerable to these accidents. This is concerning because of the strong ties between our economy and our waters. This is not a risk worth taking for both environmental and economic reasons.
Betty Yee’s opposition to the extension of Veneco’s lease is the exact action that we need by politicians to eventually eliminate fracking in California and move toward more sustainable forms of energy. As citizens of Santa Barbara, we should take action to protect our oceans, wildlife, and beautiful coastline. We can do this by electing representatives who will assist us in our goal of eliminating the dangerous form of oil extraction that is fracking.