A recent letter suggested that the citizens of Santa Barbara County forego millions of dollars in much-needed new revenues, over a billion dollars in economic activity and hundreds of well-paying new jobs, simply because they are associated with oil production. This is frankly misguided and irresponsible.
Santa Barbara County has been home to oil production for decades, and the wells in question are located in an existing oil field which will be redeveloped under the county’s stringent regulations as well as those of the California and U.S. Environmental Protection agencies. I have personally seen the site and understand the project details very well. What Aera Energy is doing in Cat Canyon is one of the most socially and environmentally responsible projects I have ever seen in our county.
Before a permit is issued, an extensive Environmental Impact Report will be prepared and made available to the public. Citizens will have ample opportunity to review and comment on the project, which must then be approved by the county before a single barrel of oil can be extracted.
Responsible local oil production provides jobs, as well as revenues that benefit our schools, public safety and other essential services, while protecting the environment. It deserves our community’s support.