Stop Flip-Flopping on Fracking
Views 83 | Time to read: 2 minutes | Uploaded: 11 - 4 - 2014 | By: Samuel Muthiah
In the upcoming elections, Santa Barbara will be voting on Measure P, a measure that deals with oil extraction in Santa Barbara County. Those who are going to the polls this Nov.4 should be voting in favor of this initiative.
According to the Santa Barbara County Water Guardians, the group behind the initiative, the purpose of Measure P is to ban “High-Intensity Petroleum Operation” in Santa Barbara County. The Yes on Measure P website lists the much maligned practice of fracking as well as less widely known techniques like steam injection and acidizing as examples of these “High-Intensity Petroleum Operations.”
Fracking, properly known as hydraulic fracturing, injects water into the ground to free up oil to be mined. The practice has been found to increase the risk of earthquakes and to contaminate groundwater.
While these issues would be problems anywhere, they are particularly bad in California. Residents of California are always waiting for the “big one,” and the current drought has made water a particularly precious resource.
Similar issues of water waste and contamination are present in the use of steam injection and acidizing. Opponents of the initiative claim that the water used in these mining techniques is taken from the ocean so there is no waste. While it is very true that ocean water is used in some operations, it is not true across the board.
We are in the worst drought in decades! Water conservation should be one of our top priorities. Measure P will help to protect what precious water we still have left.
Critics of Measure P like the No On P group claim that the initiative will cause massive job loss and close down much of the oil and gas industry out of Santa Barbara. These fears, however, are largely unfounded.
As stated above, Measure P only affects “High-Intensity Petroleum Operations.” It will not create job losses in the gas and oil industry as most of the jobs are not involved in the operations to be banned.
Furthermore, Measure P does not affect operations that are already running or that have already been set in motion. Clearly, Measure P will not set off some massive deluge of unemployment in Santa Barbara.
It is very important to get out and vote, but even more important to vote in a well-informed manner. In the case of Measure P, the well-informed voter will vote yes to protect Santa Barbara’s environment and water.