Oil Roils the Waters

As a first-year student at UC Santa Barbara, the evaluation of Venoco’s permit to expand drilling by 3,400 acres in the coastal waters off our campus is extremely important to me. I look out from the pristine, sandy beach below my dorm at oil drilling platforms off the coast, knowing the disastrous effects of drilling and the ever-present threat of oil spills.

Many of these platforms operate a process known as fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, blasting millions of gallons of water (usually 7 million-15 million gallons per well) and dangerous chemical additives into the ocean floor to obtain oil stored in shale rock below the surface. This method of drilling for oil is not only more susceptible to oil spills than its traditional drilling counterparts, but it produces more pollution even when everything runs smoothly. Further, the Environmental Protection Agency reports that areas with fracking have seen hydrocarbons and traces of contaminants likely related to the practice in residential drinking water.

These guaranteed harms and many risks are far too dangerous to allow the expansion of fracking in Santa Barbara. They should not be accepted period, and California should take a stand in protecting our environment and coastal-based economies by banning fracking in the state. My home, our home, is too precious to expose to such harmful practices.

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