Organizations representing more than 700 public-safety officials in Santa Barbara County have taken a stand against a ballot initiative that could eventually shut down much of the oil and gas production in the county.
The Santa Barbara County Firefighters Association, the county Deputy Sheriffs Association and the Santa Barbara Police Officers Association all said Sept. 10 that they were opposed to Measure P due to the expected impact of the measure on county services. The organizations represent 25 firefighters, 440 deputy sheriffs and 127 police officers respectively.
The Peace Officers Research Association of California, with 64,000 members statewide also joined the opposition.
Slated for the November ballot, Measure P would ban “high intensity” oil and gas operations in the county. Billed as largely a ban on hydraulic fracking, the measure has drawn opposition from chambers of commerce and some county officials have wondered if it would trigger expensive litigation over whether existing operations would be protected from closure.
“By shutting down nearly all on-shore oil and gas production, Measure P also cuts millions in tax dollars on-shore production generates for law enforcement and fire protection,” said Adam Estabrook, president of the Firefighters Association. “It’s vital for Santa Barbara County voters to know passing this deceptive measure will have a direct and negative impact on firefighter service levels.”
County officials have placed the loss of economic activity for the county at around $300 million. Supporters of the measure, including the Community Environmental Council and Environmental Defense Center, say the county has overstated the impact and said the measure would grandfather existing oil and gas operations.