Santa Barbara County Fracking Ban Initiative, Measure P (November 2014)
|Voting on Fracking|
|Not on ballot
- 1 Election results
- 2 Text of measure
- 3 Support
- 4 Opposition
- 5 Campaign finance
- 6 Reports and analyses
- 7 Background
- 8 Path to the ballot
- 9 Similar measures
- 10 See also
- 11 External links
- 12 Additional reading
- 13 References
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.
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.
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.
|Santa Barbara Measure P|
Election results via: Santa Barbara Elections Office
Text of measure
The official initiative ballot title for Measure P appeared as:
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
The official initiative ballot summary for Measure P appeared as:
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:
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.
The group behind the initiative was the Santa Barbara County Water Guardians.
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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
|“||Measure P puts us solidly on the path to a better, cleaner future:
—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.”
—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:
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.
—Dennis Allen, owner of Allen Construction
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: 
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.
—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.
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.
—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:
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.
—Nick Welsh, editor of the Santa Barbara Independent
- CASA Magazine endorsed Measure P on October 24, 2014.
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.
- El Latino endorsed Measure P on October 31, 2014.
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.)
- The UCSB Daily Nexus endorsed Measure P on October 30, 2014.
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.
—The UCSB Daily Nexus
- The Independent published an endorsement by long-time Reporter ETHAN STEWART, Executive Editor NICK WELSH, and Opinions Editor JEAN YAMAMURA on October 30, 2014.
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.
- No on Measure P, "The Santa Barbara County Coalition Against the Oil and Gas Shutdown" was formed by opponents of Measure P.
The following also opposed the measure:
Daily newspapers in Santa Barbara County:
- 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
- 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
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.
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:
—Andy Caldwell of the Coalition for Labor, Agriculture and Business
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:
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.
—Ken McCalip, author of an opinion piece posted by the Santa Maria Sun
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. 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?”
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:
Santa Barbara County families, businesses and taxpayers are uniting to urge NO on Measure P because it would:
—Santa Barbara County Coalition against the Oil and Gas Shutdown
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."
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.”
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.
- 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:
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.
—Lompoc Record editorial board
- The Pacific Coast Business Times also released an editorial urging voters to reject Measure P, giving the following reasons:
- The initiative is unclear, requiring expensive clarification from experts and courts
- The initiative could negatively impact the county's budget.
- The initiative could prove redundant since the county has already imposed regulation on the oil industry.
- Measure P turns the fracking debate into an "up-or-down" vote, which ignores the complexity of the issue.
- 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.
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. 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.
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.
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:
|“||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."||”|
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.
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. 
—Center for Biological Diversity, Physicians for Social Responsibility — Los Angeles, Communities for a Better Environment and the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment
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:
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:
- 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.
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."
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.
The reported impacts of $291.4 million represent 1.64 percent of the county's total GDP of approximately $17.75 billion in 2011.
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:
—Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation
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.
- See also: Fracking in California
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.
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. 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. 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. 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). 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. 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.
Path to the ballot
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. 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.
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."
- See also: Notable 2014 local measures
Denton, Texas (November 2014)
Athens, Ohio Issue 7 (November 2014)
Santa Barbara, California Measure P (November 2014)
San Benito County, California Measure J (November 2014)
Mendocino County, California Measure S (November 2014)
Gates Mills, Ohio Issue 51 (November 2014)
Youngstown, Ohio Issue 4 (November 2014)
Kent, Ohio Issue 21
City of Niles "Community Bill of Rights" Fracking Ban Initiative (November 2014)
City of Loveland Two Year Fracking Suspension Initiative, Question 1 (June 2014)
Youngstown "Community Bill of Rights" Fracking Ban Charter Amendment (May 2014)
Johnson County Fracking Ban Referendum (March 2014)
- Local fracking on the ballot
- November 4, 2014 ballot measures in California
- Santa Barbara County, California ballot measures
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- Yes on Measure P Facebook page
- Santa Barbara Water Guardians website
- Santa Barbara Water Guardians Facebook page
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- No on Measure P Facebook page
- No on Measure P on Twitter
- No on Measure P on Instagram
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- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
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