By Andrew Christie, Chapter Director
The September issue of the Santa Lucian contains multiple features on the need to pass Measure G on the November ballot. As all should know by now, this is the grassroots initiative that will ban fracking and curb the oil industry’s expansion plans for SLO County.
One of those features was entitled “What if Measure G Fails?,” detailing a long and arduous courtroom battle in Ventura County over the decision by their board of supervisors to permit 19 new oil wells a few feet away from a popular trail in Santa Paula Canyon – waterfalls, swimming holes, endangered species habitat, and Los Padres National Forest back country campsites be damned.
Space did not allow us to include another story even closer to home. In Santa Barbara County, the lack of the protections that Measure G would afford are also being keenly felt.
Here’s the word from the August/September edition of Condor Call, newsletter of the Los Padres Chapter of the Sierra Club. Take it away, Santa Barbara Group Chair Katie Davis:
On July 17, the Santa Barbara County energy division held their second hearing on ERG’s draft environmental impact report for their proposal to drill 233 high-intensity oil wells in the cat canyon area near Santa Maria.
Opposition was intense. “This is the most folks we’ve seen for an environmental hearing in this division’s history,” said Erin Briggs, County Energy Planner.
Comments revealed many issues, including ERG’s bankruptcy and history as one of the top three operators with the highest number and volume of oil spills in the county, the unacceptable risk of polluting Santa Maria’s drinking water supply, and the climate impacts of locking in intensive oil production for decades to come.
The comments at hearings in both Santa Maria and Santa Barbara ran overwhelmingly in opposition to the project. Overall, 78% of speakers at the two hearings were opposed to the project. We’ll need to keep up the fight as this and two other huge projects come up for approval starting this fall.
To underscore the point: Once Measure G is passed into law, we will never need to deal with any of the above, ever again. Lacking Measure G, what’s happening now in Ventura and Santa Barbara is going to happen in San Luis Obispo.
“Yes on G” volunteer sign-ups, donations, and yard sign requests taken here.