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Thursday, December 13 , 2018, 7:52 pm | Fair 55º


Ron Fink: With Gas Prices, Environmental Activists Have Direct Impact on Your Standard of Living

Gas prices have gone up as much as $1 a gallon at regional gas stations and that means an extra $15 for the average fill up. If you commute to work, as many do, then you probably fill up at least twice a week — Poof. 30 bucks gone.

One reason the prices have risen is attributed to the loss of “imported gas” to California; another is the loss of a critical supply of raw product from California oil fields so refiners can make gasoline.

One of these losses is directly attributable to recent actions of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors.

In May, one of the large pipes carrying crude oil to Southern California refineries broke and spilled oil onto the ground and into the Pacific Ocean near Refugio State Beach. This caused local environmentalists to celebrate since now they had another “catastrophe of epic proportions” to use in their fanaticism to rid the planet of carbon products.

In reality, when compared to other oil spills, this was a relatively minor spill with little if any long-term impact on the environment.

Many of these antagonists drove their cars to the Santa Barbara County Courthouse and used props made from hydrocarbon-based plastic tubing to shout loudly, which demonstrates the hypocrisy of their cause — they condemn the very products they are using every day.

These groups have been working for many years to crush Big Oil. They will use any means to stop people from being able to use a product that is essential to our daily lives. While they didn’t attract a large following, they really didn’t need it — all they needed was three votes to achieve their ill-conceived goal.

While the pipe was being repaired and being recertified, the oil company requested permission to use tanker trucks to move their cargo.

This is where three votes, bought and paid for by the very environmental groups that oppose oil, come in. It is no secret that Supervisors Salud Carbajal, Doreen Farr and Janet Wolf are very cozy with the hard-core anti-people environmental groups of the South Coast. They attend fundraisers and meetings, and are tightly woven into the inner workings of these obstructive interests.

Each of them has consistently voted to support proposals that amplify federal and state restrictions on business, and particularly the oil industry. Among environmental professional groups across the United States, the regulations of our county are widely recognized as the most restrictive in the entire nation.

That’s no accident as each of the three supervisors representing the areas Carbajal, Farr and Wolf currently represent have been beholden to the environmental lobby for support, both monetary and with campaigning for the last several decades.

So, when a vote to enable oil to be moved by truck required the Board of Supervisors’ approval of a temporary permit these three saw their opportunity to pay back their supporters and exact a heavy toll on an industry they are trying to eliminate.

It didn’t matter to them that they would be putting scores of well-paid employees out of work or that they would be directly affecting income to the county’s General Fund, they just wanted revenge.

So what happened? Sure enough following denial of the permit, as predicted, the oil company had to cease operations on its oil platforms and land facilities. But bad decisions have much broader consequences, and this decision affected every citizen of our county.

Gasoline pump prices rose dramatically and at least some, maybe most, of those price increases can be directly attributed to Supervisors Carbajal, Farr and Wolf. You see, these folks really don’t care about you or your family; it’s the cause that counts, not the well-being of the people they represent.

It doesn’t matter if you are a liberal or a conservative. You are paying the price and losing a considerable portion of your disposable income as a direct result of the irresponsible decision made by these people.

This situation could be resolved if the Board of Supervisors was to reconsider this matter. The impact to our community’s economy and the personal income of its low- and moderate-income families is devastating, and now that we all know what the result is, we should call, email or see them in person to demand that they allow the company to truck oil until the pipeline issue is resolved.

Finally, elections matter. The next time you go to the ballot box, consider how decisions made by these three supervisors and other politicians supported by environmental activists directly affect your family’s standard of living.

» First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal: [email protected], T 805.568.2186, F 805.568.2534

» Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf: [email protected], T 805.568.2191, F 805.568.2283

» Third District Supervisor Doreen Farr: [email protected], T 805.568.2192, F 805.568.2883

— Ron Fink, a Lompoc resident since 1975, is retired from the aerospace industry and has been active with Lompoc municipal government commissions and committee since 1992, including 12 years on the Lompoc Planning Commission. He is also a voting member of the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association. Contact him at [email protected]. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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