Aera Energy’s Economic Errors

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By Rachel Altman, Santa Barbara

In the “Santa Maria Times” and “Lompoc Record” on December 16, Aera’s PR representative claims that development of oil wells in our county will bring major economic benefits, including millions to support schools and other vital services.

His figures come from UCSB’s Economic Forecast Project (EFP), whose research team was hired by Aera Energy (owned by ExxonMobil + Shell). Aera is an acknowledged sponsor of EFP, and the report admits that it relied primarily on information provided by Aera. Really? “I’m shocked, SHOCKED to find that gambling is going on here!” as the bribed police prefect said to Rick in “Casablanca.” 

Even if we assume the EFP to be correct, it states that the total economic impact of the Aera project would be under $36 million a year. When put in perspective, agriculture generates $2.8 billion annually and employs more than 25,000 locals; tourism has a $1.9 billion impact. Revenue from oil property taxes makes up less than 1% of our county budget.

 An added 296 wells will no doubt result in spills, as acknowledged in the County’s Draft Environmental Impact Report, along with increased air pollution due to truck traffic and drilling. How many jobs will be lost in our much larger leisure and service industry when news of spills, contamination and worsening air pollution make headlines? How much will it cost to repair and maintain our roads due to increased truck traffic back and forth to Kern County? What happens to agriculture when toxic chemicals seep into the groundwater? Who will pay to clean up the mess?

Unfortunately, the Aera-sponsored report neglected to include those costs, making the cost analysis incomplete and unreliable as a predictor of the TRUE profit and loss of oil expansion in Santa Barbara County.

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a-1580196171 Jan 15, 2019 02:58 PM
Aera Energy’s Economic Errors

I hope the current Board of Suppervisors, with Gregg Hart, will be as steadfast against new oil drilling as it was when Wolf and Farr were on the Board.

Lacomus Jan 15, 2019 02:53 PM
Aera Energy’s Economic Errors

Water! Using it up, contaminating it and sticking it back in the ground. This is a good explanation link: And public comment is still open until Jan. 28th. Let's speak up! j

Flicka Jan 15, 2019 09:12 AM
Aera Energy’s Economic Errors

The oil company, Veneco, in Carpinteria tried that "we are going to give lots of money to the schools, jobs galore, lots of taxes, on and on about the benefits of letting them do what they wanted. They didn't like the City Council's take on their EIR so decided to "take it to the voters". They hired a PR firm (from out of town) to the tune of $600,000, an outfit that didn't understand the people of Carpinteria and their ability to organize a grassroots effort. The down side of their project had the voters reject it.

humungous Jan 14, 2019 05:02 PM
Aera Energy’s Economic Errors

I agree-- this necessitates a vigorous protest movement. How can individuals get their voice heard on this issue?

PitMix Jan 14, 2019 09:50 AM
Aera Energy’s Economic Errors

Get ready for the onslaught of negative comments by the project's supporters, including and especially the unions who back any project that will pay their wages. Even my neighbor, who was a new apprentice to the plumber's union at the time, was told to vote against Measure P which would have banned fracking, acid well treatments, and cyclic steam injections.

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