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Santa Barbara County Fracking Ban Initiative, Measure P (November 2014)

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A Santa Barbara County Fracking Ban Initiative ballot question was on the November 4, 2014 election ballot for voters in Santa Barbara County, California. It was defeated.

If approved, this measure would have prohibited what are called "high intensity" oil and gas operations such as fracking, acid well stimulation treatments and cyclic steam injection. The measure would not have impeded conventional drilling or "low intensity" operations.[1]

A group called the Santa Barbara County Water Guardians was behind this initiative.[2][3][4]

Similar initiative efforts were announced shortly before this Santa Barbara measure in San Benito County and Butte County.

Supporters argued that Measure P was necessary to protect Santa Barbara County's environment, its insufficient water supply, its tourism industry and its property value from many harmful effects of fracking and other high-intensity oil and gas extraction methods.[5]

Opponents claimed that Measure P was anti-business and would have crippled the economy of the county. Some also claimed it violated property rights. Opponents also claimed that there was not any fracking activity in Santa Barbara County, making Measure P unnecessary. A contingent of critics also contended that Measure P was only masquerading as a fracking ban and was actually designed to eliminate the entire oil and gas industry from the county.[6][7]

See also: Energy and the 2014 election: the ballots and beyond

Election results

Santa Barbara Measure P
Defeatedd No67,83861.22%
Yes 42,965 38.78%

Election results via: Santa Barbara Elections Office

Text of measure

Ballot title

The official initiative ballot title for Measure P appeared as:[8]

Initiative to Ban "High-Intensity Petroleum Operations" including but not limited to Well Stimulation Treatments and Secondary and Enhanced Recovery Operations such as Hydraulic Fracturing, Steam Injection and Acid Well Stimulation Treatment on all Lands within Santa Barbara Count's Unincorporated Area[9]

Ballot summary

The official initiative ballot summary for Measure P appeared as:[8]

The proposed Initiative amends Santa Barbara County Comprehensive Plan policies and the Santa Barbara County Code to prohibit the use of any land within the County's unincorporated area for, or in support of, High-Intensity Petroleum Operations, including but not limited to onshore exploration and onshore production of offshore oil and gas reservoirs. The proposed Initiative states that the prohibition, if adopted, would not apply to onshore facilities that support offshore exploration or production from offshore wells. The prohibition also would not apply to off-site facilities or infrastructure, such as refineries and pipelines that do not directly support High-Intensity Petroleum Operations. The prohibition would apply in any zoning district within the County.

High-Intensity Petroleum Operations are defined by the Initiative to include well stimulation treatments and secondary and enhanced recovery operations such as hydraulic fracturing, cyclic steam, waterflood or steamflood injection and acid well stimulation treatments.

The proposed initiative authorizes the Board of Supervisors to grant an exception to the application of any provision of the Initiative if the Board of Supervisors finds, based on substantial evidence, that both:

1) the application of any aspect of the Initiative would constitute an unconstitutional taking of property, and
2) the exception will allow additional or continued land uses only to the minimum extent necessary to avoid such a taking.

The provisions of the proposed Initiative would not be applicable to any person or entity that has obtained, as of the effective date of this Initiative, a vested right pursuant to State law, to conduct a High-Intensity Petroleum Operation as defined by the Initiative.

The proposed Initiative provides that the Board of Supervisors must take all steps reasonable necessary to enforce the Initiative and defend it against any challenge.

Comprehensive Plan policies and County Code provisions amended and adopted through the Initiative may only subsequently be amended or repealed by the vote of County voters.[9]


Yes on P campaign logo


The group behind the initiative was the Santa Barbara County Water Guardians.[5]

The San Francisco-based legislative law firm Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP drafted the initiative language along with attorney Nathan G. Alley of Limestone Law & Policy Advocates.[10]

Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP was also responsible for the text of the initiative in San Benito County.[1]

Supporters of the initiative included:[11][12]

  • Community Environmental Council (CEC)
  • Sierra Club (Santa Barbara Group, Los Padres Chapter, Sierra Club California and Sierra Club National)
  • Environmental Defense Center (EDC)
  • Fund for Santa Barbara
  • Santa Barbara ChannelKeeper
  • California Water Impact Network
  • Surfrider, Santa Barbara
  • Audubon Society, Santa Barbara
  • League of Women Voters of Santa Barbara
  • Limestone Law & Policy Advocates
  • Santa Barbara Women's Political Committee
  • Santa Barbara County Action Network (SBCAN)
  • Santa Barbara Citizens Planning Association
  • The City of Carpinteria
  • Carpinteria Valley Association
  • Summerland Citizens Association
  • Santa Ynez Valley Alliance
  • CAUSE (Central Coast United for a Sustainable Economy) - formerly Pueblo
  • League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC California)
  • Physicians for Social Responsibility
  • Nurses for Social Responsibility
  • CA Nurses Association
  • United Automobile Workers (UAW 2865 Santa Barbara)
  • Santa Barbara High School PTSA Board
  • Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice SB chapter
  • Seventh Principle Action Network of The Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara
  • UCSB Environmental Affairs Board
  • 350 Santa Barbara
  • Center for Biological Diversity
  • Food & Water Watch
  • Get Oil Out! (GOO)
  • Veterans for Peace
  • World Business Academy
  • Mercury Press International
  • VineRangers, Inc.
  • Firestone Vineyards
  • Buttonwood Winery
  • Beckmen Vineyards
  • Kaena Wines
  • Moretti Wines
  • Gypsy Canyon Winery
  • Shepherd Farms
  • SB Organics
  • Las Palmalitas Ranch
  • Classic Organic Farm & Market
  • Terra Sol Garden Center
  • Healing Grounds Nursery
  • Winfield Farm
  • Roots Farm
  • Earthtrine Farm
  • Red Horizon Farm SB
  • Hilltop and Canyon Farm
  • Earthbound Herbs SB
  • Tutti Frutti Farms
  • McAfree Farms, OPDC
  • Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary
  • SunPacific Solar Electric
  • Allen Construction
  • Patagonia
  • Democratic Party of Santa Barbara County
  • Democratic Women of Santa Barbara County
  • Progressive Democrats of America
  • Green Party of Santa Barbara
  • System Change Not Climate Change
  • Nick Welsh of the Santa Barbara Independent[13]

Elected Officials

  • Santa Barbara County Supervisor Salud Carbajal
  • Santa Barbara County Supervisor Janet Wolf
  • Santa Barbara Councilmember Cathy Murillo
  • Santa Barbara Councilmember Bendy White
  • Santa Barbara Councilmember Gregg Hart
  • Carpinteria Mayor Brad Stein
  • Carpinteria Councilmember Fred Shaw
  • Carpinteria Councilmember Al Clark
  • Santa Maria Councilmember Terri Zuniga
  • Goleta Mayor Pro Tempore Paula Perotte
  • Board President of the Goleta Water District, Bill Rosen
  • VP Goleta Water District Board & President, Cachuma Operation & Maintenance Board, Lauren Hanson
  • Goleta Planning Commissioner and Water Board Candidate Meg West
  • Carpinteria Valley Water District Board Member Polly Holcombe
  • Carpinteria Valley Water District Board Member Alonzo Orozco
  • Goleta School Boardmember Susan Epstein
  • Goleta School Boardmember Luz Reyes-Martin
  • Santa Barbara School Boardmember Monique Limon
  • Santa Barbara School Boardmember Kate Parker
  • Hope School District candidate Nels Henderson
  • Former Santa Barbara Mayor Marty Blum
  • Former Lompoc Mayor Joyce Howerton
  • Former Goleta Mayor Margaret Connell
  • Former Goleta City Councilmember Edward Easton
  • Former Carpinteria Mayor Dick Weinberg
  • Former County Supervisor Susan Rose
  • Former County Supervisor Gail Marshall
  • Former County Supervisor Frank Frost
  • Former County Supervisor Bill Wallace
  • Former President of the City of Santa Barbara Water Commission, Kathleen Reece
  • Former Santa Barbara Fire Chief Warner McGrew

Arguments in favor

Proponents of the measure argued that fracking and other high intensity oil extraction methods present unnecessary risk for little reward.[5][14]

Measure P puts us solidly on the path to a better, cleaner future:[15]
  • Instead of drilling for MORE oil, we should be taking active steps to CUT our dependence on fossil fuels in order to reduce our impact on global warming and help move California into a cleaner, twenty-first-century energy economy.
  • Fracking will not only use up excessive amounts of water during a drought--spills are inevitable. In fact, heat and high pressure has been shown to cause well casings to fail, resulting in seepage and leaks that have contaminated acquifers elsewhere. Santa Barbara County can't risk our drinking water being polluted.
  • The prospect of oil drilling here in Santa Barbara represents too big a risk for much too small a reward. No amount of local drilling will have an effect on gasoline prices or the global oil market. In fact, one respected group has already DOWNGRADED the amount of oil they believe is even extractable in the Monterey Shale by ninety-six percent. The tiny amount of usable oil we would get from allowing these practices is NOT worth potentially destroying our local resources.
  • Fracking and other oil extraction techniques not only threaten our environment and drinking water, but personal health as well. These operations use and produce toxins that have been shown to cause cancer and birth defects.
  • Measure P is needed because it is irresponsible to use our limited water supplies on water-intensive oil extraction techniques like fracking, especially during a drought that has forced residents to conserve their water use. One local oil company wants to drill seven thousand NEW wells to support its high-intensity oil production operation, which would use MORE water than the entire city of Santa Maria.
  •  Fracking and other oil production methods have been linked to earthquakes in Oklahoma, Colorado, Ohio, New York, and Texas, among other places. It is dangerous to do anything that could possibly make earthquakes more frequent, because Santa Barbara County lies next to a major earthquake fault and is less than thirty miles from a nuclear power plant.
  •  Measure P is needed to guarantee that the hazardous procedure of fracking can NEVER happen in Santa Barbara County. Fracking has happened here before, and without Measure P, it will happen again. The oil and gas industry has already made plans to drill thousands of wells in the near future in Santa Barbara County, and in fact, fracking is already happening in nearby Ventura County, in Kern County and right off our coast. [9]

—Vote Yes on P

Rebecca Claassen, a member of the Santa Barbara County Water Guardians, said, “Using these technologies, the petroleum industry would gain increased access to oil resources lying below our homes, farms and natural areas. The impacts and risks associated with high-intensity petroleum operations are too great for Santa Barbara County residents to accept. In order to protect local resources and interests, we want to prohibit this land use before it further endangers human health and the environment in Santa Barbara County.”[1][3]

Rebecca August, a petition circulator and supporter of the initiative, had the following comments about the issue:[1][16]

  • I feel like if the industry comes in here they can do whatever they want, there's no protection, we have no protection of our groundwater. No one has studied the risks of what will happen if there is an earthquake, no one has studied the risks of these chemicals in our drinking water, so we don't know, and since we're not protected it makes since to make a ban in our county against this kind of fracturing.
  • Fracking uses a tremendous amount of water, and we're in a drought and the industry that we have that is already thriving in this county is dependent on water. Agriculture and tourism, we all depend on water and we have a limited amount of water.
  • There are thousands of proposed wells in Santa Barbara County. This (ballot initiative) does not affect anyone who has a job right now, this doesn't affect current employment at all, this is all about future things, the initiative actually protects current employment because it protects farming and it protects tourism and it protects our current industry.


—Rebecca August, initiative supporter and petition circulator

Dennis Allen, owner of Allen Construction and employer of 120 workers, wrote an opinion piece featured by the Lompoc Record in which he argued in favor of Measure P. Below are some excerpts from his article:[17]

Just as construction is a cyclical industry, petroleum extraction is even more of a boom-and-bust industry. Ninety-eight percent of the industry jobs are in drilling, and most of these jobs are taken by non-locals who have specialized expertise. These are short-term jobs, as we have seen in places where these high-intensity extraction technologies have been employed on a large scale, such as Pennsylvania and North Dakota. This kind of employment does not sustain itself and, therefore, is not healthy for our county.


Measure P does not impact any of the existing petroleum wells or production, nor any of the jobs that are a part of this activity. It only impacts the future of high-risk, high-intensity wells that we don’t need as we shift to renewables.

New high-intensity wells using fracking, acidization and steam injection would be moving us in the opposite direction from the sensible path along which we are trending. If anything, we need to accelerate our adoption of clean-energy projects and technologies. Fortunately, Santa Barbara County is ideally situated to lead the clean-energy transformation, with abundant sunshine, ocean currents and wind.


I recently took a trip around the perimeter of Santa Barbara County. The second evening, I deviated 20 miles into Kern County and spent the night in Taft, a major oil-producing center for the past 80 years. I was shocked. It is an unsightly wasteland. I would not wish such blight on any place, certainly not on Santa Barbara County.

Supporting Measure P will preserve the natural beauty of our county, keep our economy vibrant, and move us along the path to a sustainable, clean energy future.[9]

—Dennis Allen, owner of Allen Construction[17]

Linda Krop, Chief Counsel for the Environmental Defense Center, one of the lawyers involved in drafting Measure P clarified what it does and doesn't do in The Independent: [18]

Measure P only applies to new high intensity oil and gas projects.

Measure P does not apply to existing projects, even if they involve high intensity petroleum operations.

Measure P does not apply to conventional oil and gas projects, even if they are new.

Measure P does not apply to projects that are “vested,” meaning that even if the project hasn’t been completed, but all permits have been issued and work has begun, it can be completed.

Measure P does not apply to a project if it would result in a taking of private property, meaning that it deprives the property owner of all or substantially all uses of their property. Such projects would be exempt from Measure P.

Does Measure P apply to well maintenance? No, by the county’s own regulations, well maintenance does not fit within the definition of high intensity petroleum operations. Instead, the county defines well maintenance as “well servicing,” which is not covered by Measure P.

Opponents of Measure P often cite a report prepared by county staff to support their contention that Measure P will ban existing operations. That report incorrectly equated “secondary or enhanced recovery technique[s]” with “well maintenance.” Because of this mistake, the County Board of Supervisors refused to accept the report.

The subsequent Impartial Analysis prepared by County Counsel clarified that Measure P only applies to “well stimulation treatments,” including fracking and acid well stimulation, and other measures to enhance production by waterflood injection, steam flood injection, and cyclic steam injection. By the county’s own definition, these methods are only prohibited if they are intended to enhance production — not the maintainance of the wells.

Will Measure P shut down all existing operations in the county? No, existing operations will not be impacted by Measure P. Any new regulation only operates prospectively, and cannot apply to operations that are currently legal and permitted. Therefore, Measure P will not affect existing jobs or revenue.[9]

—Linda Krop, Chief Counsel, EDC

Bruce Luyendyk, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Former Chair Department of Earth Science, UCSB argued that Measure P is necessary to protect Santa Barbara County from a massive increase in thousands of new, risky wells.[19]

I spent 40 years in higher education and sent many students off to good, challenging jobs in the oil industry. Two of my students became presidents of oil companies. I myself did consulting work for oil companies in the past, both for major and local ones. Why am I voting “yes” on P? The environmental concerns that surround high-intensity production resonate with me. In particular I’m concerned about the enhanced earthquake risk associated with these methods, but I also worry about the larger issue of global warming and how it must be addressed on the individual and local level.


The U.S. Energy Information Agency has estimated six hundred million barrels of technically recoverable oil remain locked up in California’s Monterey Formation — industry estimates run into the billions of barrels. The same formation underlies much of our county and has produced most of the county’s oil. The problem is, that oil is locked up in tight rocks. To get the oil out clever techniques like cyclic steam injection and even horizontal well fracking will be needed. Measure P would block this type of expansion.


If Measure P fails, then what happens? Will it be business as usual? My answer — NO — expansion will occur, it is inevitable. What kind? It will be high intensity production that includes steam injection, acid well stimulation, fracking, and deep wastewater wells. Most of the easy oil, the low hanging fruit, is long gone. Extraordinary measures are needed to expand — and business will go out on a flimsy limb to do it. I foresee uncontrolled industrial havoc in our county.[9]

—Bruce Luyendyk, Ph.D.


  • The Santa Barbara Independent published an editorial by its editor Nick Welsh that endorsed Measure P, citing a major study of 130 water wells in Pennsylvania and Texas that found water contamination is caused by faulty well drilling and well casing failures from fracking. He also cited a study done by Chevron engineers that indicated that the high temperatures of the steam -- about 500 degrees -- causes well casings to fail 16 percent of the time in cyclic steam injection operations. He explained:[20]

Last time I checked, Californians are experiencing the worst drought in recorded history. Even in good years, every drop of surface water in California has been claimed five to 10 times over. In that context, the sanctity of groundwater basins are not merely important; they are survival.[9]

—Nick Welsh, editor of the Santa Barbara Independent[20]

  • CASA Magazine endorsed Measure P on October 24, 2014.[21]

Measure “P” is important to our community because it protects our water resources and our environment. We cannot afford the risk of allowing extreme oil production methods which create hazardous waste, both above and below ground, to proliferate. Measure “P” is a good law which compliments older and weaker regulations, some of which were written prior to the understanding of the dangers of the widespread use of extreme oil production methods. CASA Magazine endorses Measure “P” because it increases protections for our community by drawing a harder regulatory line on an industry that creates hazardous waste without preventing them from continuing at their current level of doing business. A special thank-you goes to the Water Guardians for this well crafted law. A “Boo” goes out for the questionable advertising and marketing by an industry profiteering at the expense of the environment, that, from out of the area sources, has been able to raise nearly $6 million to fight a measure designed to prevent the spread of toxic chemicals in our watershed.[9]


  • El Latino endorsed Measure P on October 31, 2014.[22]

La Medida P . . . Debido más que nada al impacto ambiental y a que presionaría a las empresas petróleras a realmente buscar más alternativas de energías limpias”, nuestra posición es un SÍ. (Due mostly to the environmental impact and to put pressure on oil companies to actually look more clean energy alternatives, our position is YES.)[9]

—El Latino[22]

  • The UCSB Daily Nexus endorsed Measure P on October 30, 2014.[23]

Passing Measure P would be a powerful statement that Santa Barbara County values environmental integrity more than gas and oil production. It would also make a statement supporting the essential development of alternative renewable energy programs in response to toxic chemical emissions produced by the oil and natural gas industry.[9]

The UCSB Daily Nexus[23]

  • The Independent published an endorsement by long-time Reporter ETHAN STEWART, Executive Editor NICK WELSH, and Opinions Editor JEAN YAMAMURA on October 30, 2014.[20]

Cyclic steam injection produces four times the greenhouse gases of conventional oil drilling . . . Let’s make sure there’s clean water and air for the coming generations. Let’s support this most minimal of efforts to curb the changing weather patterns that alarm us . . . we know — it is on our conscience — that there is a connection between what we do here in our county and what happens globally. It was like that in 1969; it’s like that today.

“Yes” on Measure P is the only option worth voting for if you care about the future.[9]



No on P campaign image


  • No on Measure P, "The Santa Barbara County Coalition Against the Oil and Gas Shutdown" was formed by opponents of Measure P.[24]

The following also opposed the measure:[25]

Daily newspapers in Santa Barbara County:[26]

  • Santa Barbara Independent
  • Santa Barbara News-Press
  • Santa Maria Times
  • Lompoc Record
  • Pacific Coast Business Times
  • Montecito Journal
  • Santa Ynez Valley News

Organizations and associations:

  • The Coalition of Santa Barbara County Taxpayers, Consumers, and Energy Producers[27]
  • Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce
  • Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • Santa Barbara County Farm Bureau
  • Santa Barbara County Cattlemen's Association
  • Santa Barbara County Deputy Sheriff's Association
  • Santa Barbara County Firefighters Local 2046
  • Peace Officers Research Association (PORAC)
  • The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) #413
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) #952
  • U.A. Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 114
  • Tri Counties Building and Construction Trades Council
  • Laborer’s International Union North America (LiUNA) #220

Community, civic and business leaders:

  • Jim Boles - Retired Professor of Earth Science (UCSB)
  • Peter Naylor - Professor of Finance and Economics, Santa Barbara City College
  • Riccardo Magni - High School Science Teacher, Santa Maria; 2013 Santa Barbara County Teacher of the Year; Recipient of the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators
  • Stacey Zeck-Boles - UCSB Graduate, Ph.D. Degree in Geology
  • Wayne Vogler - Biologist
  • Michael Bennett - Mayor, City of Goleta
  • Jack Boysen - Chairman of the Board, Central Coast Water Agency
  • Doug Milham - Geologist and Member, American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Don Oaks - President, Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association
  • Henry Muller, Jr. - Retired Brigadier General
  • Brooks Firestone - Former California State Assemblyman
  • Jim Thomas - Former Santa Barbara County Sheriff
  • Marianne Strange - Air Quality Consultant, M.F. Strange & Associates
  • Paul Collier - High School Teacher
  • Willy Chamberlin - Rancher & Former County Supervisor
  • Langdon Neven - Lieutenant Colonel
  • Jim Bull - Deputy Sheriff, Retired
  • Cynthia Hadidian - School Teacher
  • Dale Francisco - City Council Member, Santa Barbara
  • Andrea Fields - Registered Nurse
  • Douglas Imperato - Consulting Geologist
  • Janice Battles - Third Generation Rancher, Los Alamos Valley
  • Alfred J Reichel, Jr. - Lieutenant Colonel, Retired
  • Frank Banales - Executive Director, Zona Seca
  • Frances Romero - Mayor, Guadalupe
  • David Doerner - Geologist, Retired
  • Joe H. Valencia - Former Lompoc Mayor
  • Thomas A. Chrones - Colonel
  • Frank Hotchkiss - City Council Member, Santa Barbara
  • Gregory Gandrud - Former Carpinteria City Council Member
  • Maria Aguilar - Community Liaison, Santa Maria Bonita School District
  • Rebecca Gowing - Rancher & Member of Santa Barbara County Cattlewomen
  • Geoff Banks - Retired, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office
  • Maria Aguilar - Santa Maria Bonita School District Community Liason
  • Wesley Maroney - Chief of Police, Allan Hancock College
  • Kirk J. Mang - Fire Chief, Retired
  • Jody Oliver - Trustee, Santa Maria Bonita School Board
  • Andrea Fields - Registered Nurse
  • Rose Kinyon - Small Business Owner
  • Tone Anderson - Teacher
  • Carl Peus - Surgeon
  • Christine Burtness - Science Teacher, Retired
  • T Arthur Kvaas - Physicist, Retired
  • Glenn Battles - Third Generation Rancher, Los Alamos Valley
  • David King - Housing Director
  • Gerald Groff - Doctor, Retired
  • Teresita Herdzik - Registered Nurse, Retired
  • Peggy S. Blough - Small Business Owner
  • Vernon W. Stevens - Police Officer/Corrections Commander, Retired
  • Douglas Mackenzie - Medical Doctor
  • Brandy Branquinho - Rancher
  • Roy Reed - 6th Generation Rancher and Mineral Rights Owner
  • Emily Waniuk - Teacher
  • Arthur W. Wilson - Chemist
  • Robert Gayou - Physician
  • Robert G. Bailey - Retired Deputy Sheriff
  • Sandy Macias - Registered Nurse
  • Kristen Miller - President/CEO
  • Javier Vavgas - Truck Driver
  • David Peu - Software Engineer
  • Tammy Nunez - Registered Nurse
  • Adrianne Cortez - Office Manager
  • Daniel Urquhart - Electrician
  • Gina Bumgardner - Registered Nurse
  • Jack Toil - Corrections Officer
  • Shawn Hanshew - Crane Operator
  • Lawrence Smith - Controller
  • Cameron Doss - Pipe Welder
  • Denise Spinner - Licensed Vocational Nurse
  • Jason Reynolds - Agent owner State Farm Insurance, Lompoc
  • David Shahrabani - Owner, DMS Electric
  • Shawn Lytal - Iron Worker
  • James Eudy - Owner, President, Sunshine Metal Clad, Inc.
  • Mark Huerth - Federal Law Enforcement, Retired
  • Carol A. Park - Registered Nurse
  • Leonard W. Deaton - Professor
  • Francisco Cadena - Restauranteur
  • Mike Balezentes - Business Owner
  • James Ackermann - Registered Nurse
  • Andrew Hazi - Retired Scientist

Arguments against

Opponents of the measure argued that Measure P was masquerading as a ban on hydraulic fracturing, while the initiative would have actually resulted in shutting down the onshore oil and gas industry in Santa Barbara County.[27]

Andy Caldwell of the Coalition for Labor, Agriculture and Business spoke extensively against the initiative, both responding to arguments from proponents and speaking about its potential harm to the economy. He made the following statements:[6][7]

  • Point A, we don't frack here, so fracking isn't an issue. They are trying to take a campaign of hysteria and apply it to Santa Barbara County when we don't have fracking here.
  • They (ballot initiative supporters) are trying to employ a classic divide and conquer mentality and whip people into hysteria and claiming that water is threatened when what this is all about is this organization that doesn't want us using fossil fuels anymore so they are trying to kill the oil and gas industry simply because they believe in global warming, not because oil and gas is a threat.
  • Nobody is using fresh water supplies, for instance Santa Maria Energy is using wastewater from Laguna Sanitation to make steam. They are mixing fracking with steam injection, they are totally different and the steam injection projects that we know of are going to use wastewater or water from the production zone which isn't drinking water anyway.
  • The bottom line here is its not just the jobs dealing with oil and gas, of getting it out of the ground and getting it refined, it's the cost to all of society if our local supplies diminish and we're dependent on bringing that supply here the cost just goes up. Anytime someone is paying at the pump or to run manufacturing and industrial concerns, everything with the price is going to go up, every time the price of gas goes up like ten cents in america it costs the economy billions of dollars so there is a huge multiplier effect from the loss of jobs.
  • We will not be able to shift to alternatives for decades until they can become a significant part or our energy portfolio, for instance solar and wind only produce a certain number of hours per day. Solar and wind is less than five percent of our portfolio.


—Andy Caldwell of the Coalition for Labor, Agriculture and Business[7]

Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association, said, "Any reduction in domestic oil production here means more dependence on foreign oil. We should be looking for ways to encourage more domestic production of oil and jobs that go with it rather than passing laws that reduce our domestic energy production.”

Ken McCalip, a retired principal/superintendent and a North Santa Barbara County native, wrote the following article on July 29th, 2014. It was posted in the Santa Maria Sun and argued that the initiative was severely flawed, poorly written and costly. Ken McCalip contended that the measure was ambiguous and would inevitably lead to years of expensive litigation. It also expressed the fear that the initiative would have shut down the oil industry, killing hundreds of jobs and harming the county's economy. An excerpt of the article is below:[27]

It will impact more than 300 high paying jobs and will be a hit to our economy as it ripples through the county with the loss of additional service jobs. The breadth and ambiguity of this Measure P proposal will in effect shut down our oil industry, and its impact will be severely damaging to our entire county economy.

After a careful reading of Measure P, it is apparent that major ambiguities exist that could plunge our county into years of legal conflict at taxpayer expense. The issues run the gamut from violation of property rights under state and federal laws to infringement of vested property rights amounting to an unconstitutional taking prohibited by the United States Constitution. No clear standard for exemptions is provided in the measure, which could also lead to legal entanglements. One could understand a reasonable regulation of how fracking is implemented based on scientific facts, but this goes far beyond reason and is not in our best interest. The breadth and ambiguities in this proposal deserve a “no” vote and a move back to the drawing board.[9]

—Ken McCalip, author of an opinion piece posted by the Santa Maria Sun[27]

Ed Hazard, from the National Association of Royalty Owners (and a mineral right owner), said that mineral rights owners in the county receive an average of $500 per month in royalty fees.[28]

Bob Poole, a spokesperson for Santa Maria Energy, claimed that the initiative proposed by the Water Guardians was just an attempt to curtail oil production and was not actually about fracking. He pointed towards California Senate Bill 4, statewide legislation on oil extraction practices, as the best way to address the contentious issue.[29] Poole, referring to the Water Guardians, said, “Good decision making should be based on objective facts and science. They need to follow the science-based approach the governor and the state of California are taking on this issue, there is a scientific study underway … why don’t they get behind that instead of trying to jump ahead of science?”[30]

The following reasons to vote against Measure P were presented on the website of the Santa Barbara County Coalition against the Oil and Gas Shutdown:[24]

Santa Barbara County families, businesses and taxpayers are uniting to urge NO on Measure P because it would:

  • Force the shutdown of existing oil and gas production in the County.
  • Threaten the loss of over 1,000 existing, well-paying jobs and over $16 million in existing tax revenues for schools, fire protection and other vital government services.
  • Place the County at risk of incurring the largest financial liability in County history, potentially hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.
  • Increase our dependence on foreign oil from countries with little or no regulations.[9]

Santa Barbara County Coalition against the Oil and Gas Shutdown[24]

Jim Byrne, the communications director for the No on Measure P campaign, called Measure P “deceptive” and a “train wreck." He also said, “We all could be impacted in a very big way, very soon, if Measure P passes."[31]

Byrne said the initiative was unnecessary because fracking was essentially banned in the county already and the oil and gas industry already has large amounts of regulation. He also said that the emphasis on fracking by proponents of the measure is deceptive because the measure would have crippled the entire oil and gas industry in the whole county. Byrne highlighted other methods of mineral extraction banned by Measure P, including cyclic steaming and acidization. He pointed out that these processes have been used safely and regulated in the county for decades. Byrne said, “It’s not a ban on fracking. It’s a shutdown initiative for the oil and gas industry in Santa Barbara County, an industry that has been highly regulated and has operated for more than 100 years in this county.”[31]

Byrne also cited a county fiscal impact analysis to argue that Measure P could have had a horrific effect on the county's finances. He noted that, according to the report, $16 million was collected in tax revenue from the oil and gas industry and that $10 million went to local schools and about $2 million went to the county fire system.[31]


  • The Lompoc Record released an editorial condemning Measure P as an anti-oil, industry-crippling initiative masquerading as simply an anti-fracking measure. An excerpt of what the Lompoc Record editorial board wrote is below:[32]

Indeed, if voters pass Measure P, it would set up the case for an outright ban on the hydraulic fracturing method of extracting petroleum products from deep under ground.

Briefly stated, passing Measure P would have devastating effects on the local economy. Because it’s not just a ban on fracking, but on all other forms of enhanced oil extraction, now widely and safely used in oil development.


Measure P clearly is an attempt to misrepresent the reality of a situation, and typical of so many recent ballot initiatives, claims to do one thing while actually doing something else entirely.

Don’t fall for it. The oil industry has been active in this county for generations, and there have been mistakes. But the technology is vastly improved, the risks to the environment diminished — and Santa Barbara County needs this important segment of the economy to remain viable.[9]

Lompoc Record editorial board[32]

  • The Pacific Coast Business Times also released an editorial urging voters to reject Measure P, giving the following reasons:[33]
  1. The initiative is unclear, requiring expensive clarification from experts and courts
  2. The initiative could negatively impact the county's budget.
  3. The initiative could prove redundant since the county has already imposed regulation on the oil industry.
  4. Measure P turns the fracking debate into an "up-or-down" vote, which ignores the complexity of the issue.
  5. The county supervisors have done a good job on the climate issue and tough on new development.
The editorial concluded:

The bottom line on Measure P is that Santa Barbara County's supervisors, accountable to the voters every four years, have been responsible parties when it comes to climate rules. Let's give them the leeway to keep doing their jobs.[9]

Campaign finance

The high spending by oil companies may have made Measure P one of the most expensive local ballot measure in the nation, with millions in spending from opposition.[34] The total campaign spending for this race was notably nearly four times more than winning congressional races across the nation. The average House winner in 2012 spend $1.5 million.[35]


According to the Santa Barbara Independent, the Yes on Measure P campaign had a war chest of about $284,000 as of October 16, 2014, largely from hundreds of individuals and county residents. This amount notably mounted to only a small fraction of anti-Measure P funds.[36]


The same article published by the Independent reported that the opponents of Measure P raised $7.6 million. Here is an excerpt from the article:[36]

Californians for Energy Independence, the aforementioned 'No' committee, has funneled $5 million of its $7.6 million war chest ... ​to the 'No' side. The two single-biggest donors to the committee have been Chevron ($2.5 million) and Aera Energy ($2.1 million), the latter of which is rumored to be contemplating applying for 300 cyclic steam injection wells here. Other Santa Barbara County interests that have contributed to that state group include Santa Maria Energy and Pacific Coast Energy Company, both of whose future plans could be thwarted if the initiative passes. The regional fundraising team for 'No' has seen additional donations from Santa Maria Energy ($88,134) and Pacific Coast Energy Company ($157,035), as well as Venoco ($80,000) and ERG Operating Company ($90,893), which recently applied for 233 cyclic steam injection wells."


—Lyz Hoffman[36]

Reports and analyses

Center for Biological Diversity - Air toxics:

Although there have been no extensive studies about environmental or health-related impacts of unconventional oil and gas extraction in Santa Barbara County, there have been in other areas. An analysis from the Center for Biological Diversity, Physicians for Social Responsibility — Los Angeles, Communities for a Better Environment and the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment in June 2014 found that oil companies used millions of pounds of air-polluting chemicals in Los Angeles Basin Neighborhoods.[37]

One year after the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) began requiring the oil and gas industry to report the use of chemicals in certain well operations in the South Coast Air Basin, records show that oil companies have used 44 different air toxic chemicals more than 5,000 times in Los Angeles and Orange counties in the past 12 months.

The known air toxics most frequently used by oil companies in the Los Angeles air basin include crystalline silica, hydrofluoric acid, and formaldehyde. Air toxics are those chemicals considered to be among the most dangerous air pollutants because they have been proven to cause significant health harms, illness, and death. Formaldehyde, for example, harms the eyes and respiratory system and is classified as a cancer-causing substance by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the California Air Resources Board.

The oil industry has reported the use of more than 45 million pounds — or 22,500 tons — of air toxics in 477 hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), acidizing and gravel packing operations in Los Angeles and Orange counties since mandatory reporting began in June of 2013. Oil companies have also claimed “trade secret” protection 5,050 times to conceal information on air toxics and other chemicals used. The data also shows that more than half of the fracking, acidizing, and gravel packing events reported by the oil industry have occurred within 1,500 feet of a home, school, or medical facility. [9]

—Center for Biological Diversity, Physicians for Social Responsibility — Los Angeles, Communities for a Better Environment and the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment[37]

Concerned Health Professionals of New York:

On July 10, 2014, Concerned Health Professionals of New York published a report titled "Compendium Of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks And Harms Of Fracking (Unconventional Gas And Oil Extraction)."

The following is the executive summary from the report:[38]

The University of California Santa Barbara Economic Forecast Project undertook a study of the economic impact of onshore oil and natural gas extraction in Santa Barbara County for the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce in 2013. Using a type of economic forecasting known as IMPLAN modeling, the study measured the impacts of fossil fuel extraction in Santa Barbara County. Studies that use IMPLAN modeling usually measure both direct impacts, i.e. the jobs and income being added within the oil and gas industry; indirect impacts, i.e. jobs created throughout the supply chain; and induced impacts, i.e. jobs created through increased spending due to growth in the industry. The study found that:[39][40]

  • While the industry is a small contributor to overall county employment, the average employee's salary ranges from $75,000 to $100,000.
  • The industry contributes $1.13 million to 240 nonprofits across the county annually.
  • In 2011, the industry had an economic impact of $103 to $142 per barrel of oil produced.
  • The total economic impact, including direct, indirect and induced impacts was $291.4 million in 2011.
  • The industry pays $49.2 million in federal, state and local taxes annually.[40]

According to the study, the oil and natural gas industry "has a significant impact on Santa Barbara County’s economy through its purchases of intermediate inputs, investment in new structures and equipment, and employment within the county."[40]

Bonnie Queen, one of the analysts who worked on the report, stated that, according to data provided directly by the companies, the number of direct employees for oil and gas businesses amounted to 336. This represents 0.1 percent of the approximately 250,000 jobs in the county.[41]

The reported impacts of $291.4 million represent 1.64 percent of the county's total GDP of approximately $17.75 billion in 2011.[41]

The Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation: The Western States Petroleum Association commissioned the Los Angeles Development Corporation to conduct a study on the gas and oil industry in California, including several subregions. The LAEDC study concluded that the petroleum industry on the Central Coast is a substantial source of jobs and an economy-boosting element. However, the study used very broad metrics for calculating the economic impact. The report states, "The total estimated economic contribution includes direct, indirect and induced effects." Oil and gas industry "workers, as well as the employees of all the industry's suppliers, spend a portion of their incomes on groceries, rent, vehicle expenses, healthcare, entertainment, and so on. The recirculation of the original expenditures multiplies the initial spending through these indirect and induced effects." The report featured the following conclusions:[6]

  • In 2012, the petroleum industry contributed to 24,210 total jobs on the Central Coast and generated more than $1.6 billion in labor income.
  • On the Central Coast, the state and local taxes paid by companies and individuals involved in the petroleum industry total $1.1 billion.
  • In Santa Barbara County, the petroleum industry contributed to 3,414 total jobs and generated more than $349 million in labor income.
  • Jobs created or supported by the petroleum industry statewide generate $40 billion in labor income, which is 3.1% of California's total labor income.
  • Statewide, the petroleum industry's total economic value is $113 billion, which is 5.4% of California’s total gross domestic product and is larger than the economies of 17 U.S. states.


—Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation[6]

The study considered not only oil and gas extraction and transportation, but also retail sales of gasoline at gas stations when calculating jobs, tax revenues and economic impacts. As it is unlikely that the initiative would have any substantial impact on sales on gasoline in the county, these jobs, tax revenues and economic impacts should be unaffected by the ban.[6]


See also: Fracking in California
Map of oil and gas wells in Santa Barbara County, CA

The process of fracking is under heavy scrutiny in California. The 2014 California Democratic Party Platform called for an immediate moratorium on fracking, a position not supported by California's Democratic Governor Jerry Brown. Fracking has been occurring in California for more than 30 years.[42][43][44]

Native Americans are the first recorded group to have collected oil in California. The first oil company began mining and distilling oil in 1856, and, in 1950, California produced 331 million barrels of oil. Several large natural gas fields were found throughout the 1970s and 1980s.[45] The Monterey Shale formation in California was expected to hold 15.4 billion barrels of oil, or 65 percent of the technically recoverable shale oil in the lower 48 states, according to a 2012 report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. In May 2014, however, they adjusted their estimate. Due to "the industry's difficulty in producing from the region," the estimate was revised down to 600 million barrels of recoverable oil.[46][47][48][49] To the right is a map of all the oil and gas wells in Santa Barbara County as of May 8, 2014. A black star denotes an area of oil and gas well activity.[50] There is a large cluster of oil and gas wells in northwest Santa Barbara County, a small cluster in the northeastern portion of the county, and at least one well offshore the coast of the county.

The Department of Conservation's Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) oversees oil and gas development in California. Water resources are regulated by the Regional Water Quality Control Boards (RWQCB) and the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB).[42] According to the DOGGR, most of the oil and gas production in California is happening using vertical wells that are drilled into traditional oil and natural gas reservoirs. The DOGGR regulates well casings, cements and the other aspects of protecting underground and surface water resources. Under current law the DOGGR does not need to be notified when a well is fractured.[51] In 2013 the California State Legislature passed Senate Bill 4, regulating well stimulation, which includes fracking and other activities. Senate Bill 4 requires interim well regulations that are now in effect, a separate set of regulations that go into effect in 2015, the adoption of environmental impact reports in 2015 and well stimulation permits. These permits are publicly available on the DOGGR's website.[52]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing local ballot measures in California

In Santa Barbara County, if sufficient signatures are submitted, an initiative ordinance may be enacted by the county supervisors. If they choose not to enact the ordinance unaltered, it is sent to the ballot to let voters have the final decision.

The Santa Barbara Water Guardians, who were behind this initiative, had until May 7, 2014, to submit a minimum of 13,200 signatures to the Santa Barbara County Registrar of Voters. On May 1, 2014, the group turned in about 20,000 signatures.[2] About 16,000 signatures were certified as valid, giving county supervisors the choice of either enacting the initiative or putting it on the November 4, 2014 election ballot. On June 13, 2014, the Santa Barbara Supervisors voted unanimously to put the measure on the ballot.[3][4]

Rebecca Claassen of the Santa Barbara Water Guardians said, "We are encouraged by the high level of volunteer participation and enthusiastic public response to our efforts. Santa Barbara County residents get it: these extreme oil extraction techniques carry a much higher risk than the traditional pumping that has taken place in the county for decades. The trade-offs associated with fracking and cyclic steam injection are simply not worth gambling on when our limited water supplies are at risk."[2]

Similar measures

See also: Notable 2014 local measures

Local measures

Approveda Denton, Texas (November 2014)
Approveda Athens, Ohio Issue 7 (November 2014)
Defeatedd Santa Barbara, California Measure P (November 2014)
Approveda San Benito County, California Measure J (November 2014)
Approveda Mendocino County, California Measure S (November 2014)
Defeatedd Gates Mills, Ohio Issue 51 (November 2014)
Defeatedd Youngstown, Ohio Issue 4 (November 2014)
Defeatedd Kent, Ohio Issue 21
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot City of Niles "Community Bill of Rights" Fracking Ban Initiative (November 2014) Approveda
Defeatedd City of Loveland Two Year Fracking Suspension Initiative, Question 1 (June 2014)
Defeatedd Youngstown "Community Bill of Rights" Fracking Ban Charter Amendment (May 2014)
Defeatedd Johnson County Fracking Ban Referendum (March 2014)

Statewide measures

Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot Colorado Fracking Ban Initiative (2014)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot Michigan Fracking Ban Initiative (2014)

See also

External links

Suggest a link

Basic info



Additional reading


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Archived Santa Barbara Independent, "Santa Barbara County Water Guardians Files Initiative to Ban Fracking in Santa Barbara County," March 23, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Edhat Santa Barbara, "Fracking Ban is on November Ballot," May 1, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Lompoc Record, "Group kicks off petition for fracking ban initiative," March 20, 2014
  4. 4.0 4.1 Edhat, "Supervisors Place Fracking Ban on Ballot," June 13, 2014
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Santa Barbara Water Guardians website," accessed June20, 2014
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Western States Petroleum Association, "Oil and Gas in California: The Industry and Its Economic Contribution in 2012," April 2014
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2, "Study Says Fracking Ban Ballot Initiative Bad for Jobs, Economy," April 24, 2014
  8. 8.0 8.1 Santa Barbara County Elections Office website, "Full text of Measure P Initiative," accessed August 25, 2014
  9. 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 9.11 9.12 9.13 9.14 9.15 9.16 9.17 9.18 9.19 9.20 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  11. Santa Barbara Water Guardians website, "Endorsements," accessed August 3, 2014
  12. Vote Yes on P, "Endorsements," June 26, 2014
  13. Santa Barbara Independent, "Blood-bloated ticks nesting in a dog’s ear," September 18, 2014
  14. Vote Yes on P, "10 Reasons to Vote Yes on Measure P (Any one is enough!)" accessed October 27, 2014
  15. Vote Yes on P, "A Better Future: Why We Need Measure P" accessed October 31, 2014
  16. KEYT, "Study Says Fracking Ban Ballot Initiative Bad For Jobs and Economy," April 24, 2014
  17. 17.0 17.1 Lompoc Record, "A business owner’s take on Measure P," August 31, 2014
  18. The Independent, "The Naked Truth About Measure P by One of Its Drafters," October 8, 2014
  19. The Independent, "Measure P: Can We See the Future Without It?," October 23, 2014
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 Santa Barbara Independent, "Blood-bloated ticks nesting in a dog’s ear," September 18, 2014
  21. 21.0 21.1 Casa Magazine, "Vote 'Yes' on Measure 'P:' Fracking poses too great a risk," October 24, 2014
  22. 22.0 22.1 El Latino, "Nuestro apoyo es para… La Medida P," October 31, 2014
  23. 23.0 23.1 UCSB Daily Nexus, "Measure P - Yes," October 30, 2014
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 Santa Barbara County Coalition against the Oil and Gas Shutdown, "Home", accessed August 25, 2014
  25. Santa Barbara County Coalition against the Oil and Gas Shutdown, "Coalition," accessed September 2, 2014
  26. No on Measure P, "Coalition," accessed October 28, 2014
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 Santa Maria Sun, "An environmentalist says no on P: Take this measure back to the drawing board," July 29, 2014, archived August 1, 2014
  28. KSBY, "Voters will decide fate of fracking in November," June 13, 2014
  29. California Legislature website, "California Senate Bill 4 information," accessed March 24, 2014
  30. Santa Maria Sun, "Local group files a voter initiative to ban fracking in Santa Barbara County," March 24, 2014
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 Lompoc Record, "Measure P opponent calls oil initiative a 'train wreck'," August 22, 2014
  32. 32.0 32.1 Lompoc Record, "Don't be fooled by anti-oil Measure P," July 26, 2014, archived July 28, 2014
  33. 33.0 33.1 Pacific Coast Business Times, "Editorial: Santa Barbara County voters should reject Measure P," September 26, 2014, archived September 30, 2014
  34. Ballotpedia, "Local Ballot Measure Elections in 2014," accessed October 18, 2014
  35. Open Secrets, "Election 2012: The Big Picture Shows Record Cost of Winning a Seat in Congress," accessed October 18, 2014
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 The Santa Barbara Independent, "Two Cents and More with Measure P," October 16, 2014
  37. 37.0 37.1 The Center for Biological Diversity, "Air Toxics One-Year Report: Oil Companies Used Millions of Pounds of Air-Polluting Chemicals in Los Angeles Basin Neighborhoods," accessed October 2, 2014
  38. 38.0 38.1 Concerned Health Professionals of New York, "Compendium Of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks And Harms Of Fracking (Unconventional Gas And Oil Extraction)," accessed October 2, 2014
  39. PricewaterhouseCooper LLP, "Economic Impacts of the Oil and Natural Gas Industry on the US Economy 2011," July 2013
  40. 40.0 40.1 40.2 University of California Santa Barbara Economic Forecast Project, "Santa Barbara Onshore Oil and Natural Gas Industry," September 2013
  41. 41.0 41.1 Santa Barbara County Workforce Investment Board, "Santa Barbara County Industry Cluster Report," February 2012
  42. 42.0 42.1 Berkeley Law, "Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing in California: A Wastewater and Water Quality Perspective," April 2013
  43. Think Progress, "Fracking is Creating a Rift Between Governor Jerry Brown And Some California Democrats," March 13, 2014
  44. Environmental Engineering & Contracting, Inc., "A Brief History of Hydraulic Fracturing," accessed May 6, 2014
  45. California Department of Conservation, "California Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources: an Introduction," 1993
  46. U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Review of emerging resources: U.S. shale gas and shale oil plays," accessed May 6, 2014
  47. One barrel of oil produces about 19 gallons of gas U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Frequently Asked Questions," May 30, 2013, accessed March 18, 2014
  48. Reuters, "UPDATE 2-U.S. EIA cuts recoverable Monterey shale oil estimate by 96 pct," May 21, 201
  49. Bloomberg, "EIA Cuts Monterey Shale Estimates on Extraction Challenges," May 21, 2014
  50. Department of Conservation, "Division of Oil, Gas, & Geothermal Resources Well Finder," accessed May 7, 2014
  51. Department of Conservation, "Hydraulic Fracturing in California," accessed May 7, 2014
  52. Department of Conservation, "Well Stimulation," accessed May 7, 2014