Pixel Tracker

Tuesday, November 20 , 2018, 4:22 am | Overcast 49º

 
 
 
 

Big Oil, Environmentalists Throw Money at Measure P Fight

Big money is going into the fight over Measure P, Santa Barbara County’s proposed ban on high-intensity oil and gas production methods that include fracking.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, isn’t used locally right now, but active wells do use other methods that would be banned by Measure P, according to county staff.

Both sides of the initiative accuse the other of misinterpreting the ban’s impacts, saying it would or would not affect existing oil production.

Proponents are concerned about petroleum production’s impact on the environment and an increase in permit applications for additional wells in Santa Barbara County.

Yes on P supporters include advocates from the Santa Barbara County Water Guardians, which initiated the measure, and financial backing from several major local donors.

In late September, the campaign was given $50,000 donations each from two Montecito men, Richard Mazess and Stanley Tomchin. Its totals are now in the range of $196,000.

On the other side of the battle are oil companies that see a threat to the local oil industry, which companies say would hurt profits, jobs and annual county tax revenues.

Some companies pursuing permits for new wells have threatened the county with litigation and contributed money to fight Measure P, including ERG Resources.

As of Friday, the No on P campaign had received about $1.95 million.

The campaign being managed by the legal firm of Nielson Merksamer Parrinello Gross & Leoni of San Rafael, and the campaign’s biggest donor by far — the Californians for Energy Independence, Including Energy Producers — is run out of the same office.

According to Secretary of State records, this group received $1.8 million in total contributions from oil companies for the first half of 2014, and has been spending Measure P-related money in Santa Barbara County since May.

In September, the group directly contributed $1.6 million to oppose Measure P and another $29,000 in early October.

Other contributors to the No on P campaign include Pacific Coast Energy, Santa Maria Energy, Venoco, ERG Operating Company, the Associated Builders and Contractors Central California Chapter PAC, and Aera Energy.

The fund left over from the Santa Barbara County infrastructure measure that failed in June, Measure M, donated $4,000 to fight Measure P.

Absentee ballots were mailed out Monday for the Nov. 4 election, and Santa Barbara County voters can register to vote through Oct. 20, according to the County Elections Office. The last day to request a vote-by-mail ballot is Oct. 28.

Noozhawk news editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.