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Tuesday, March 19 , 2019, 2:57 pm | Partly Cloudy with Haze 58º


Letter to the Editor: Measure P Is Deceptive

Measure P purports to prevent fracking from occurring in Santa Barbara County. It does not seem to matter to the supporters of this initiative that fracking is not, in fact, occurring here. They ignore the fact that the main oil bearing formation, the Monterey shale, is already so naturally fractured that it flows to surface at numerous places in the county. Therefore, the vast majority of the 6,000-plus wells drilled in the county have never used and will never need fracking.

They also conveniently ignore the fact that the recently enacted Senate Bill 4 has already put in place stringent new regulations on fracking that make it unlikely that any operator would want to use the technology here.

The real agenda of this initiative is to ban the other “high-intensity petroleum operations” that the proponents lumped into their proposal.

These include acid stimulation, water and steam injection. These are routine oil-field activities that have been in use in the county for some 50 years. The average well in California produces 15 barrels of water for every barrel of oil and the Federal Clean Water Act requires operators to reinject this water back where it came from. These injection wells require regular acid stimulation treatments, otherwise they will pressure up. Unlike in Oklahoma and Texas, we have a diligent state agency that monitors injection pressures and would prevent such a risky situation arising in an injection well.

The real intent of this initiative is then to outlaw these routine oil-field activities and force operators to shut their oil wells down when they can no longer obtain the required injection permits. This surely qualifies as illegal taking, and the 30-plus producers in the county would eventually resort to litigation.

I urge you to vote no on P in November.

Steve Horner

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