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

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Voting on Fracking
Frackingsite2.jpg
Policy
Fracking policy
Ballot Measures
By state
By year
Not on ballot
A Santa Barbara County Fracking Ban Initiative ballot question is on the November 4, 2014 election ballot for voters in Santa Barbara County, California.

If approved, this measure would prohibit what are called "high intensity" oil and gas operations such as fracking, acid well stimulation treatments and cyclic steam injection. The measure would not impede conventional drilling or "low intensity" operations.[1] The group called the Santa Barbara County Water Guardians filed its initiative and a notice of intent to circulate with the Santa Barbara County Registrar on March 23, 2014, and planned to officially kick off the petition drive at an event on April 5, 2014. They needed 13,200 valid signatures before May 7, 2014, to qualify the initiative for the November ballot. On May 1, 2014, the group turned in about 20,000 signatures. Out of the 20,000, the Santa Barbara County Elections Office found 16,000 signatures to be valid. On June 13, 2014, the Santa Barbara County Supervisors voted unanimously to put the initiative on the November ballot, rather than enacting it directly.[2][3][4]

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

Text of measure

Ballot title

The official initiative ballot title for Measure P:[5]

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[6]

Ballot summary

The official initiative ballot summary for Measure P:[5]

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.[6]

Support

Supporters

The group behind the initiative is called the Santa Barbara County Water Guardians.[7]

The San Francisco-based Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP law firm drafted the initiative language. This firm was also responsible for the text of the initiative currently being circulated in San Benito County.[1]

Other supporters of the initiative include:[8]

  • Community Environmental Council (CEC)
  • Sierra Club (Santa Barbara Group, Los Padres Chapter & Sierra Club California)
  • Environmental Defense Center (EDC)
  • System Change Not Climate Change (Santa Barbara Chapter)
  • Get Oil Out! (GOO)
  • Santa Barbara County Action Network (SBCAN)
  • Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice SB chapter
  • Santa Barbara Citizens Planning Association
  • Carpinteria Valley Association
  • Summerland Citizens Association
  • Santa Ynez Valley Alliance
  • League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
  • Nurses for Social Responsibility
  • CALPIRG
  • UCSB Environmental Affairs Board
  • 350 Santa Barbara
  • Center for Biological Diversity
  • Food & Water Watch
  • CREDO
  • Democratic Party of Santa Barbara County
  • United Automobile Workers (UAW 2865 Santa Barbara)

Elected Officials

  • Santa Barbara Coucilmember Cathy Murillo
  • Santa Barbara Councilmember Bendy White
  • Santa Barbara School Boardmember Monique Limon
  • Santa Maria Councilmember Terri Zuniga
  • Goleta Mayor Pro Tempore Paula Perotte
  • Goleta School Boardmember Susan Epstein
  • Former Santa Barbara Mayor Marty Blum
  • Former Goleta Mayor Margaret Connell
  • Former Carpinteria Mayor, Dick Weinberg
  • VP Goleta Water District Board & President, Cachuma Operation & Maintenance Board, Lauren Hanson
  • Democratic Party of Santa Barbara County
  • Green Party of Santa Barbara

Arguments in favor

Proponents of the measure argue that fracking and other high intensity oil extraction methods have dangerous and harmful side effects such as:[7]

  • wasting precious water needed by California
  • potentially causing earthquakes
  • polluting water sources and air
  • chemical side effects inimical to the health of county residents and animals

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:[9]

  • 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 intitiatve actually protects current employment because it protects farming and it protects tourism and it protects our current industry.

[6]

—Rebecca August, initiative supporter and petition circulator[9]

Opposition

Opponents

The Santa Barbara County Coalition against the Oil and Gas Shutdown was formed by opponents of Measure P.[10]

The Coalition of Santa Barbara County Taxpayers, Consumers, and Energy Producers also opposes the measure.[11]

Arguments against

Opponents of the measure argue that Measure P is masquerading as a ban on hydraulic fracturing, while the initiative would actually result in shutting down the onshore oil and gas industry in Santa Barbara County.[11]

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:[9][12]

  • 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.

[6]

—Andy Caldwell of the Coalition for Labor, Agriculture and Business[12]

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 argues that the initiative is severely flawed, poorly written and costly. Ken McCalip contends that the measure is ambiguous and would inevitably lead to years of expensive litigation. It also expresses the fear that the initiative would shut down the oil industry, killing hundreds of jobs and harming the county's economy. An excerpt of the article is below:[11]

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.[6]

—Ken McCalip, author of an opinion piece posted by the Santa Maria Sun[11]

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.[13]

Bob Poole, a spokesperson for Santa Maria Energy, claimed that the initiative proposed by the Water Guardians is just an attempt to curtail oil production and is 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.[14] 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?”[15]

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:[10]

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.[6]

Santa Barbara County Coalition against the Oil and Gas Shutdown[10]

Editorials

  • 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:[16]

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.

But passage of Measure P would also do quite a lot more, and while its supporters aren’t saying a lot about those other impacts of passing Measure P, we feel morally and ethically compelled to shed some light on such a blanket prohibition.

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.[6]

Lompoc Record editorial board[16]

Funding

Californians For Energy Independence has contributed over $300,000, from May 18, 2014, to June 30, 2014, to oppose Measure P. Californians For Energy Independence is funded by several oil and gas companies, including Chevron and Houston-based Freeport-McMoran.[17]

Reports and analyses

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.[18][19] The study found that:

  • 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.[19]

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."[19]

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.[20]

The reported impacts of $291.4 million represent 1.64 percent of the county's total GDP of approximately $17.75 billion in 2011.[20]


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:[9]

  • 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.

[6]

—Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation[9]

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.

Background

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 Governor Jerry Brown. Fracking has been occurring in California for more than 30 years.[21][22][23]

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.[24] The Monterey Shale formation in California is 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 the U.S. Energy Information Administration.[25][26]

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.[27] 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).[21] 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.[28] 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.[29]


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 are 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

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

BallotpediaAvatar bigger.png
Suggest a link

Basic info

Support

Opposition

Additional reading

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 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 Santa Barbara County Elections Office website, "Full text of Measure P Initiative," accessed August 25, 2014
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Santa Barbara Water Guardians website, accessed June 20, 2014
  8. Santa Barbara Water Guradians website, "Endorsements," accessed August 3, 2014
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Western States Petroleum Association, "Oil and Gas in California: The Industry and Its Economic Contribution in 2012," April 2014
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 http://noonmeasurep.com/ Santa Barbara County Coalition against the Oil and Gas Shutdown website, accessed August 25, 2014
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Santa Maria Sun, "An environmentalist says no on P: Take this measure back to the drawing board," July 29, 2014, archived August 1, 2014
  12. 12.0 12.1 KETY.com, "Study Says Fracking Ban Ballot Initiative Bad for Jobs, Economy," April 24, 2014
  13. KSBY, "Voters will decide fate of fracking in November," June 13, 2014
  14. California Legislature website, "California Senate Bill 4 information," accessed March 24, 2014
  15. Santa Maria Sun, "Local group files a voter initiative to ban fracking in Santa Barbara County," March 24, 2014
  16. 16.0 16.1 Lompoc Record, "Don't be fooled by anti-oil Measure P," July 26, 2014, archived July 28, 2014
  17. California Secretary of State,"Californians For Energy Independence," accessed August 1, 2014
  18. PricewaterhouseCooper LLP, "Economic Impacts of the Oil and Natural Gas Industry on the US Economy 2011," July 2013
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 University of California Santa Barbara Economic Forecast Project, "Santa Barbara Onshore Oil and Natural Gas Industry," September 2013
  20. 20.0 20.1 Santa Barbara County Workforce Investment Board, "Santa Barbara County Industry Cluster Report," February 2012
  21. 21.0 21.1 Berkeley Law, "Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing in California: A Wastewater and Water Quality Perspective," April 2013
  22. Think Progress, "Fracking is Creating a Rift Between Governor Jerry Brown And Some California Democrats," March 13, 2014
  23. Environmental Engineering & Contracting, Inc., "A Brief History of Hydraulic Fracturing," accessed May 6, 2014
  24. California Department of Conservation, "California Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources: an Introduction," 1993
  25. U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Review of emerging resources: U.S. shale gas and shale oil plays," accessed May 6, 2014
  26. 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
  27. Department of Conservation, "Division of Oil, Gas, & Geothermal Resources Well Finder," accessed May 7, 2014
  28. Department of Conservation, "Hydraulic Fracturing in California," accessed May 7, 2014
  29. Department of Conservation, "Well Stimulation," accessed May 7, 2014