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Santa Barbara County, CA November 4, 2014 Election
Measure P2014
Ordinance Prohibiting Certain Petroleum Operations
Santa Barbara County

Initiative ordinance - Majority Approval Required

Fail: 42965 / 38.78% Yes votes ...... 67838 / 61.22% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Nov 21 9:33am, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (250/250)
Information shown below: Fiscal Impact | Official Information | Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Full Text

Shall the ordinance amending Santa Barbara County's Comprehensive Plan and County Code -- to prohibit on all lands within the unincorporated County, with certain exemptions, the construction or use of any facility, appurtenance, or aboveground equipment supporting certain petroleum operations, including but not limited to: hydraulic fracturing; acid well stimulation; or aiding hydrocarbon flow into a well by injecting water, natural gas, steam, air, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, chemicals or other substances -- be adopted?

Fiscal Impact from County Auditor-Controller:
Measure P2014, if approved, would prospectively have an impact on county revenues and expenses since many methods of oil extraction generally would be banned (examples include increasing pressure in a well by water or gas injection, steam injection, well stimulation treatments and fracturing). The following fiscal areas would likely be affected if oil and gas extraction decreases:

  • This measure would affect property tax revenues. In 2014, taxpayers will pay $651 million in property taxes. Oil and gas companies will pay approximately $20.3 million or 3.1% of the total property tax. Since minerals deplete over time, property tax related to oil and gas production would also be expected to drop over time, unless new oil and gas reserves are discovered and are extracted using primary recovery methods (where recovery is driven by a number of natural mechanisms after drilling a well).

    Property taxes generated by oil and gas companies are allocated as follows: Schools receive approximately $12.7 million or 62%, the County General Fund $4.4 million or 22%, the County Fire Protection District $2.6 million or 13%, other special districts $0.6 million or 3% and cities $0.03 million or 0.2%. These agencies use taxes to provide services for education, health care, public safety, public assistance, public ways and facilities infrastructure, and recreation.

  • To the extent Measure P applies to State tidelands, this measure could decrease royalties generated by oil and gas processing on State lands and paid to the State of California General Fund by oil companies. In FY 13/14, $23 million was generated within the County from two leases. Although the State provides significant revenues to the schools and County for local program expenditures from the State's General Fund, there is no direct correlation to the oil royalty revenue. There are unproven oil and gas reserves that could be extracted in the future from State tideland leases.

  • Other revenue and expenses are affected by decreased oil and gas processing activities. Costs of permitting and monitoring activities related to planning, development and enforcement would be incurred and offset by existing fees. While a cost cannot be put on environmental impacts, a decrease in oil and gas processing will benefit the County by lowering the risk of potential fiscal costs related to any environmental damage from the oil and gas extraction processes. Similarly, from an economic financial perspective, there would be an overall decline in fiscal benefits due to fewer jobs and wages in the oil service industries and related consumer spending along with decreases in sales and other taxes related to the industry.

  • The County would incur costs in processing exemptions that Measure P states, including exemptions to avoid unconstitutional takings of property and where there are "vested rights." The amount of that potential cost cannot be estimated, and the County is not insured against court judgments for "takings" damages. It would also cost the County to defend any litigation, even if the County prevailed.

/s/ Robert W. Geis, C.P.A. County Auditor-Controller

Official Sources of Information

Impartial Analysis from County Counsel
Measure P was placed on the ballot following a petition signed by the requisite number of voters.

If approved by a majority of the voters voting thereon, Measure P would, upon becoming effective:

1. Where it applies, generally prohibit the "development, construction, installation, or use" of any facility or aboveground equipment "in support of" what it defines as "High-Intensity Petroleum Operations," including:

● "Well Stimulation Treatments," which Measure P defines as "designed to enhance oil and gas production or recovery by increasing the permeability of the formation," including but not limited to hydraulic fracturing treatments and acid well stimulation treatments; and/or

● Operations where the flow of hydrocarbons into a well are aided or induced by "introduction or injection of" water, natural gas, steam, air, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, chemicals, or any other substance. Measure P states that examples of this include: "waterflood injection," "steam flood injection," and "cyclic steam injection;"

2. Apply to land uses in the unincorporated area of Santa Barbara County "in support of all onshore exploration and onshore production in the County's unincorporated area," but not apply to onshore facilities that support offshore exploration or production from offshore wells;

3. Provide exemptions, where the general prohibition described above otherwise would:

● Violate the constitution or laws of the United States or the State of California; or

● Constitute an "unconstitutional taking of property;" or

● Apply to a person or entity that has obtained, as of Measure P's effective date, a "vested right" pursuant to State law to conduct what Measure P defines to be "High-Intensity Petroleum Operations."

In applying these exemptions, Measure P: generally states how the Board of Supervisors may grant a limited exception to avoid an "unconstitutional taking of property," does not state a County process for considering and applying the other two exemptions, but states that the Board of Supervisors may adopt implementing ordinances to further Measure P's purposes; and

4. Act through:

● Itself amending parts of the County's: Comprehensive Plan; Land Use and Development Code; Coastal Zoning Ordinance; and Petroleum Code; and

● Directing the County to further amend County plans, ordinances and policies to ensure consistency with Measure P.

State law expressly regulates and/or approves certain oil and gas production methods statewide, while Measure P generally would prohibit land uses in support of some of those methods in the unincorporated area of Santa Barbara County, including: "well stimulation treatments," "waterflood injection," "steamflood injection" and "cyclic steam injection." (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 14, 1714, 1724.6, 1761, 1780-1788.) Concerning any potential effect of State law on it, Measure P: states the exemptions in numbered paragraph 3 above; directs that it be interpreted "so as to be consistent with all applicable Federal, State and County laws, rules and regulations;" and provides that if a court holds part of Measure P invalid or unconstitutional, the remaining parts of Measure P shall remain valid.

/s/ Michael C. Ghizzoni County Counsel

 
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Arguments For Measure P2014 Arguments Against Measure P2014
Santa Barbara County needs Measure P to protect against extreme oil extraction techniques like fracking, steam injection and matrix acidization. These processes can contaminate our water, endanger our families' health and increase the risk of earthquakes.

Measure P protects our health and natural resources without cutting existing jobs or threatening our county's current tax revenue.

Contrary to what opponents may claim, Measure P does not ban conventional oil drilling or affect existing lawful oil and gas operations. Nor does it prohibit operators from conducting routine well maintenance activities. Instead, it protects us against extreme techniques that can waste and pollute our drinking water, increase the risk of cancer, asthma and other illnesses, and generate significant air pollution and carbon emissions that worsen climate change.

MEASURE P WILL PROTECT OUR WATER: The extraction techniques that Measure P bans--fracking, steam injection and matrix acidization--use enormous amounts of water and turn it into hazardous waste that can contaminate drinking water and farmland. During extreme drought conditions, we must conserve our water for our homes and agriculture, not waste and pollute it.

MEASURE P WILL PROTECT OUR HEALTH: The toxic chemicals used in these techniques have been shown to cause cancer, birth defects and infertility. Children are at special risk for asthma and other respiratory ailments. Allowing these dangerous techniques poses an unacceptable risk to our families.

MEASURE P WILL PROTECT OUR AIR: These processes dramatically increase air pollution, and generate much higher greenhouse gas emissions than conventional methods. Measure P will allow us to keep producing energy while protecting our communities and natural resources.

Protect our water. Protect our health. Protect our air. Preserve Santa Barbara's natural beauty, at no cost to our economy. Vote YES on Measure P.

The undersigned authors of the argument in favor of Ballot Measure P2014 at the Consolidated General Election for Santa Barbara County to be held on November 4, 2014 hereby state that such argument is true and correct to the best of their knowledge and belief.

/s/ Das Williams, Assemblymember

/s/ Terri Zuniga, Santa Maria City Councilmember

/s/ Tom Shepherd, Shepherd Farms, Former President SB County Farmers Market Assoc.

/s/ Lauren Hanson, Vice President Goleta Water District Board, Cachuma Operation and Maintenance Board

Sierra Club Los Padres Chapter /s/ David Gold, Chair

Rebuttal to Arguments For
MEASURE P WOULD FORCE THE SHUTDOWN OF EXISTING OIL AND GAS WELLS.

There is no hydraulic fracturing in Santa Barbara County. However, Measure P is so broadly written that it would ban common oil and gas production techniques used in 100% of the active wells in Santa Barbara County.

- Source: Santa Barbara County Impact Analysis Report on Measure P, 6/13/14

MEASURE P WOULD CREATE THE BIGGEST FINANCIAL LIABILITY IN COUNTY HISTORY.
"[W]hen asked whether he believed passing Measure P could lead to the biggest legal exposure the county could ever have, [Santa Barbara County Counsel] Ghizzoni gave a simple `yes'."

- KSBY News, 7/29/14

"[T]he County of Santa Barbara would be on the hook financially for all legal [takings] claims with no insurance".

- KCOY News, 7/29/14

The County's liability to owners whose mineral rights would be violated by P is estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars. And, without insurance, the County and taxpayers could face drastic reductions in vital public services, or unprecedented tax increases.

MEASURE P WOULD REQUIRE SPENDING MILLIONS ON NEW BUREAUCRACY.
The County would be required to hire additional staff and attorneys to process exemption claims from Measure P and to defend against lawsuits driven by Measure P.

- Source: Santa Barbara County Counsel, 7/29/14

Maintaining the quality of Santa Barbara County's air, water, and public health is important to all of us. What's needed is a balanced approach, not Measure P, which is flawed, drastic, and would be extremely costly to residents throughout Santa Barbara County.

Please Vote NO on P.

The undersigned authors of the rebuttal to the argument in favor of Ballot Measure P2014 at the Consolidated General Election for Santa Barbara County to be held on November 4, 2014 hereby state that such argument is true and correct to the best of their knowledge and belief.

/s/ Dr. James Boles, UCSB Professor Emeritus, Earth Sciences

/s/ Richard Russell, 3rd Generation Family Farmer, Cuyama Valley

Santa Barbara County Firefighters Local 2046 /s/ Tyler Gilliam, Vice President

/s/ Riccardo Magni, 2012 Santa Barbara County Teacher of the Year

Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association /s/ Don Oaks, President

Measure P is yet another example of a poorly written, flawed and costly ballot initiative. Measure P would result in an entire industry shutting down in our County, hurting thousands of families.

Measure P would shut down oil and gas production.

  • Santa Barbara County has concluded that 100% of the current oil and gas wells use one of the recovery methods banned by Measure P + these are normal production methods that have been safely used for decades.
  • As a result, Measure P would shut down nearly all oil and gas production in Santa Barbara County.

Measure P would harm our families, communities and the County.

  • Over 1,000 workers would lose their jobs.
  • Over $290 million annually in economic activity would be at risk.
  • The County would lose millions in funding for vital government services.

"Measure P would hurt Santa Barbara County in many ways, including forcing cuts in funding for public safety services and schools." - Adam Estabrook, President, Santa Barbara County Fire Fighters Local 2046

Measure P would put the County at risk for hundreds of millions or more in legal damages.

  • The County's liability for lawsuits brought by owners whose mineral rights would be taken away is estimated to be hundreds of millions of dollars or more.
  • The County would be forced to spend millions to defend lawsuits and oversee claims, reducing funding for vital government services, such as firefighters and schools.

Measure P would increase dependence on foreign oil.

We need a balanced approach to meeting our energy needs that includes continuing local energy production under our state's strict environmental laws, and developing renewable energy resources.

We should allow our local oil and gas industry to continue operating under strict regulations, rather than shutting it down and importing more foreign oil from countries with little or no regulations.

Please Vote NO on P.

The undersigned authors of the argument against Ballot Measure P2014 at the Consolidated General Election to be held on November 4, 2014, hereby state that such argument is true and correct to the best of their knowledge and belief.

/S/ Dr. James Boles, UCSB Professor Emeritus, Earth Sciences

/S/ Richard Russell, 3rd Generation Family Farmer, Cuyama Valley

Santa Barbara County Firefighters Local 2046 /s/ Tyler Gilliam, Vice President,

/S/ Riccardo Magni, 2012 Santa Barbara County Teacher of the Year

Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association /s/ Don Oaks, President

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
The claims against Measure P are simply false. Oil industry boosters won't admit the serious risks posed by extreme extraction techniques like fracking, steam injection, and matrix acidization, so instead, they resort to making blatantly untrue claims about Measure P.

  • Measure P does NOT affect current oil and gas projects or cut a single job. Existing oil and gas projects will continue to operate as usual and traditional oil and gas projects can still be developed. Any claim that Measure P will shut down oil production is wrong.

  • Measure P does NOT cut any current oil or gas revenues. Opponents'misleading statements are based on the false claim that all production in the county will stop. Funding for schools and public safety is NOT threatened.

  • Measure P is legally sound. Oil companies have been defeated in community after community, and courts across the country have ruled decisively that people have the right to ban these dangerous techniques.

  • Measure P will not affect fuel prices or increase reliance on foreign oil. The small amount of oil produced here is sold on a global marketplace.

Here's what Measure P actually does:

  • Stops extreme extraction techniques, including fracking and matrix acidization, from spreading right next to our farms and food, putting our economy and our health at risk.

  • Protects our precious water supply from waste and pollution, preserves our families' health, and reduces air pollution and carbon emissions that worsen climate change.

Please vote YES on Measure P.

The undersigned authors of the rebuttal to the argument against Ballot Measure P2014 at the Consolidated General Election for Santa Barbara County to be held on November 4, 2014, hereby state that such argument is true and correct to the best of their knowledge and belief.

/s/ Marty Blum, Former Mayor of Santa Barbara

/s/ Warner McGrew, Former Santa Barbara City Fire Chief

/s/ Steve Beckmen, General Manager, Beckmen Vineyards

/s/ Susan Epstein, Goleta School Board

/s/ Stan Roden, Former Chamber of Commerce President Former District Attorney

Full Text of Measure P2014
The full text of Measure P2014 can be found at http://sbcvote.com/Elections/UpcomingElections.aspx under "Local Measure Information".


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