Tuesday, November 13 , 2018, 7:59 pm | Fair 58º


Letter to the Editor: Oil Industry Insider’s Perspective on Measure P

When I graduated from college, I went to work for the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District. After 2½ years, I elected to go to work for the oil industry, and I’ve been with the industry either as a direct employee or as a consultant for the last 34 years.

All those years have been spent permitting projects and striving to comply with all rules, regulations and permit conditions. As I watch, and listen to, the debate on Measure P, I find that I probably am uniquely qualified to comment on the impacts it will have — both negative and positive.

First, the proponents on Measure P have over-reached with their request. Does anyone doubt that over the next few decades that renewable sources of power will become more and more cost-effective and ultimately be able to compete with the cheaper sources of energy? They are becoming more cost-effective and slowly, but surely our dependence on fossil fuels will dwindle — but not our need for oil, which is used for so many of the products that provide value and comfort to our lives. We just can’t drop fossil fuel now. The proponents should be more patient and let the natural progression of things occur.

Second, the proponents have tried to trivialize the value of blue-collar jobs in the North County. While these jobs may not seem important to the proponents, these types of jobs are gold in the North County. These jobs are some of the few that allow our residents to support families, purchase homes and prepare for a comfortable retirement. I have personal knowledge of people in the industry with little formal education who have been able, through hard work, to become managers and supervisors. These types of opportunities are rare in the North County.

Third, the proponents have tried to vilify those who work for the oil industry, support the oil industry or who are opposed to Measure P. This tactic has failed miserably. I would venture to bet that just about every voter in this county knows someone who works in the oil industry. They know we are not villains. They know that we are hardworking people, that we want to better ourselves and build a future for our families. And we will not do that at the expense of preserving our environment. They know that we contribute to the betterment of our community either by volunteering or contributing to organizations that make our community a better place in which to live.

Fourth, my colleagues and I have worked for years with the agencies to craft rules and regulations that are tough, but reasonable. Together, we have set the bar very high for Santa Barbara County businesses. In many cases these plans and rules took years to develop with input from every affected party. Measure P throws all that work out the window for a flawed initiative that aims, ultimately, to kill the oil industry based on deceptive messages from the proponents.

Finally, I know the oil industry has been truthful in its advertising. We didn’t pick this fight — the proponents of Measure P did. The proponents have tried to vilify the industry, vilify supporters and vilify anyone who dares to do anything but support their message wholeheartedly. If you look at the No on P messages, you will find that none of these dirty tricks were employed. All we have attempted to do is show the negative impacts associated with Measure P — loss of jobs, loss of tax base, loss of economic prosperity and the incredible legal liability that the county faces if this measure were to pass.

Please join my friends, neighbors and family in voting no on Measure P.

John Deacon

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