Proponents of Santa Barbara County’s Measure P, an anti-fracking measure that could also shut down conventional oil and gas production, suffered a setback on Aug. 27 when the largest South Coast chamber of commerce said it opposed the November ballot initiative.
The Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce said that its board voted to “urge its members to vote ‘no’ on Measure P.”
The group said the measure “is written in a way that its likely to mislead voters.” In addition, it said, the measure would prohibit operations that already are legal in the county and have been used for decades.
If passed, the area economy could suffer $291 million in economic losses, the chamber warned, including lost wages and indirect costs. And Santa Barbara County could be forced to reduce public services, the chamber said, if the measure is passed and county taxes go down.
Santa Barbara County cold also face lawsuits, legal costs and liability claims of more than $100 million, the chamber said, if the measure passes and is deemed to be a “taking” by the California courts.
Measure P faces considerable opposition in North Santa Barbara County, where most onshore oil and gas operations are located.
An effort by State Sen. Hannah Beth Jackson to ban onshore to offshore drilling from Vandenberg Air Force Base to tap the Tranquillon Ridge field was stymied in the state senate on Aug. 26, when a bill she sponsored failed to gather enough votes for passage.