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

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A Santa Barbara County Fracking Ban Initiative ballot question may be 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 need 13,200 valid signatures before May 7, 2014, to qualify the initiative for the November ballot.[2]

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



  • The group behind the initiative is called the Santa Barbara County Water Guardians.[3]
  • 350 Santa Barbara[4]
  • 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]

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:[3]

  • wasting precious water needed by California
  • potentially causing earth quakes
  • 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][2]



  • Santa Maria Energy

Arguments against

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.[5] 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?”[6]

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, have until May 7, 2014, to submit a minimum of 13,200 signatures to the Santa Barbara County Registrar of Voters. If the sufficiency of the petition is certified, county supervisors will either enact the initiative or put it on the November 4, 2014 election ballot.[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

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