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Possible Fracking Ban
updated: Jun 12, 2014, 8:15 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

WHAT:           “Healthy Air and Water Initiative to Ban Fracking” to be considered in a special meeting by the Santa Barbara County Supervisors.

WHERE:       Santa Maria Hearing Room, 511 East Lakeside Parkway, Santa Maria.                       

WHEN:           Friday, June 13

                         9:00 a.m


The elections office has certified that the Santa Barbara County Water Guardians gathered enough signatures to get an initiative on the November ballot to ban land uses related to fracking, acidizing, cyclic steam injection and other high-intensity petroleum operations within Santa Barbara County's unincorporated area. The Supervisors are holding a special meeting to receive an impact report from county staff. At that point they can enact the law or place it on the November 2014 ballot.

Oil companies are ramping up use of risky, high-intensity techniques that pose a greater risk to water, air and health than conventional drilling to extract dirty shale oil from the Monterey Shale and other formations across Santa Barbara County. The threatened proliferation of thousands of new wells also threatens the County's famed scenic vistas, robust tourism industry and quality of life. The Water Guardians is a coalition of concerned citizens and organizations deeply concerned about heading off this dangerous expansion. Hundreds of volunteers gathered 19,000 signatures, of which 16,000 were deemed to be valid registered voters, 3000 more than need to qualify the initiative.

Since the initiative has qualified, support for the initiative has been accelerating with many organizations joining the coalition and enthusiastically endorsing the initiative. Many are expected to make public comments in support of the initiative.

Takeaways from the county impact report are that a risky boom using high-intensity techniques is imminent - nearly doubling current production in the near future, and that the oil industry has drastically overstated its economic importance, at most contributing to 1% of county employment. The ban will have no immediate cost or impact to tax revenue. It is fully in alignment with existing county law and could lead to infrastructure cost savings.


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