Thursday, July 19 , 2018, 8:07 pm | Fair 69º


Letter to the Editor: Why I Am Voting for Measure P

I am voting for Measure P for the following reasons:

» 1. Measure P is about protecting our groundwater from oil industry contamination by banning fracking and acidification processes that mix massive amounts of clean water with hydrofluoric acid and other fracking chemicals, injecting them into the ground under tremendous pressure creating huge amounts of toxic wastewater also disposed of by injection underground.

» 2. In July, California’s Oil & Gas regulators shut down 11 oil field wastewater injection wells because of suspected groundwater contamination. There are over 2,500 toxic wastewater injection wells throughout California, including one just off the Santa Barbara coast.

» 3. A Sept. 15 letter from the State Water Board to the EPA confirmed toxic wastewater from oil and gas operations has been illegally injected into aquifers that supply drinking and irrigation water in the Central Valley. That water source is now polluted and forever unusable.

» 4. This is the tip of the iceberg with investigations into groundwater contamination just beginning. If fracking and acidification practices expand as envisioned by the oil industry, there will need to be thousands more wastewater disposal wells. Regulators have allowed disposal of toxic wastewater underground without monitoring fostering industry claims that these technologies are nonpolluting — claims now proven false.

» 5. In August, after years of denial under gas industry pressure, the State of Pennsylvania finally acknowledged that hundreds of private drinking water wells have been contaminated by extreme oil and gas operations.

» 6. Earlier this year, USGS studies confirmed that fracking and wastewater injection trigger earthquakes.

» 7. In 2013, a NOAA scientist documents a 17 percent methane gas leakage rate at Los Angeles-area oil and gas operations. Recent disclosures confirm adverse health impacts of people living near oil and gas operations.

» 8. The Associated Press reported in 2013 that hundreds of thousands of gallons of toxic wastewater from fracking operations at offshore platforms have been released into our local waters.  Do you eat local seafood or swim or surf in the ocean?

» 9. Other documented adverse impacts from extreme extraction processes not spoken of by the oil industry include toxic chemical spills, explosions, well ruptures (BP Deepwater Horizon), noxious air emissions and massive truck traffic.

» 10. Finally, significantly and contrary to what the oil industry would have you believe, Measure P does not prevent industry from taking oil from the ground. What it does do is prohibit the use of acids, carcinogenic fracking fluids and other dangerous extraction processes. When industry develops safe, nonpolluting methods to extract it, the oil will be there for the taking.

» 11. The right to take a resource such as oil from the ground does not and should not include the right to destroy another more essential resource such as water in the process. A significant amount of Santa Barbara County water comes from wells. When the state fails to protect our water quality, our citizens must act to do so, which is what Measure P does.

Please vote yes on Measure P.

Ben Wiener

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