Pixel Tracker

Sunday, December 16 , 2018, 7:18 pm | Fair 57º


Santa Barbara City Council Shows Symbolic Opposition to New Oil Drilling, Fracking

The Santa Barbara City Council on Tuesday voted 6-1 to send a symbolic message that it supports a ban on new drilling and fracking, and a phase-out of all oil and gas extraction along the Pacific Coast.

Mayoral candidate Councilman Harwood “Bendy” White and his political ally Councilman Jason Dominguez proposed the resolution to “protect the coast from oil and gas drilling.”

Councilman Frank Hotchkiss, who is also running for mayor, opposed the resolution and the political nature of the proposal.

“I have a great appreciation for petroleum products,” Hotchkiss said. 

“If you want to live an oil-less life you can do it,” he told the crowd at the meeting, which had many UC Santa Barbara students in attendance. “It’s not going to be comfortable, but you can do it. Do it now.”

White and Dominguez said it was important to take a stand, particularly in light of President Donald Trump's administration's views on climate change and global warming.

“These are extraordinary times and we don’t have leadership on this issue right now,” Dominguez said. 

“It’s not an imaginary threat. It is a real threat. When you are doing oil production there is a real harm. When you eliminate oil production you eliminate real harm.”

He said the only losers in the conversation were special interest groups who lobby politicians for favors.

“This is not a symbolic gesture,” Dominguez said. “This is something that can help save lives locally.”

White said Santa Barbara is “the center of environmental awareness. These days where we need to head is away from petroleum development.”

Longtime Santa Barbara resident Bonnie Raisin said White and Dominguez’s proposal felt like a political football.

“We are talking about an industry that has been here a long time,” Raisin said. “We need the jobs and we need the income from natural gas and oil and they can coexist with the new forms of energy.”

Hillary Hauser, executive director of environmental group Heal the Ocean, said she supported the resolution.

“It sends a powerful message that Santa Barbara is not going to get pushed around by nobody,” Hauser said.

Councilwoman Cathy Murillo looked out at the room full of millennials and said, “There are a lot of young people and I don’t want them to think it is too late. Please don’t lose hope.”

Councilman Randy Rowse supported the resolution but said he worried the group would be deluged with proposed resolutions since the political season has started — the City Council and mayoral election is in November. 

“I don’t want to keep doing this,” he said.

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina 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
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.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >