Opinion: The case against Measures A and B in Ventura County
By Nancy Lindholm
Higher prices, fewer jobs, and more foreign oil: Measures A and B are a bad deal for Ventura County.
Our coalition of local labor unions, business leaders, scientists, farmers, working families, and community members urges voters to reject the deceptive campaign to arbitrarily shut down our local oil and gas production.
Policies have consequences, and voters deserve to know the truth about the dangerous proposals in Measures A and B.
Here are the facts:
• Ventura County’s oil and gas is proudly produced under some of the strongest regulations in the world. Multiple layers of oversight by qualified engineering and geoscience professionals at local, state, and federal agencies ensure all operations meet or exceed strict regulations to protect the environment, public health, and worker safety. These agencies have the authority to revoke permits and shut down production if local producers do not meet strict operating requirements no matter how old the permit is.
• Measures A and B would scrap this expert-driven, science-based oversight and transfer regulatory authority to local politicians. Some members of the Ventura County Board of Supervisors are pushing Measures A and B to give themselves new and expansive powers to override state and federal agencies, ignore scientific experts, and shut down oil and gas production in Ventura County at will. This is an unprecedented and dangerous power grab by local politicians.
• Shutting down our strictly regulated local energy production would force California to import more expensive foreign oil, pushing energy prices even higher. California already imports 75% of the oil we use, and Californians pay the highest energy prices in the country by far. Measures A and B would further reduce our local supply of oil and gas, increasing our dependence on unstable foreign countries for the energy we need, and heightening our vulnerability to price spikes and supply shortages due to global conflict or instability. Ventura County families can’t afford even higher and more volatile energy costs.
• Eliminating the county’s energy production would kill thousands of local jobs and tens of millions in local tax revenues. One analysis found that Measures A and B would eliminate 2,000 jobs that are crucial to working families across Ventura County. Measures A and B would also result in the loss of more than $56 million in tax revenues that support our schools, firefighters, public safety, and other vital public services.
• Despite the fact that Ventura County’s water is safe and complies with all state and federal drinking water standards, some politicians are using false scare tactics about water safety to promote Measures A and B. The facts are clear: Ventura County aquifers are protected under strict oversight by local, state, and federal agencies, which have the authority to shut down any energy operation at risk of impacting aquifers. Moreover, a major study conducted last year by the U.S. Geological Survey found no evidence that Ventura County water has ever been impacted by local production operations.
Measure A & B advocates may claim to be environmentalists, but shutting down local energy production is not an environmentally friendly policy position. In fact, a production shutdown in Ventura County would actually increase overall emissions as more foreign oil is shipped to California via tanker from halfway around the world, instead of being produced locally under the strongest environmental and public health protections on the planet.
The choice for Ventura County voters is clear: Allow local energy workers to provide the oil and gas we need, safeguard local jobs for working families, and retain tax revenues for vital local services — or allow local politicians to make an unprecedented power grab that will force residents to pay higher costs as we depend even more heavily on foreign oil imports for our energy needs.
Ventura County families are already struggling with the high cost of housing, groceries, and gas. Unnecessarily shutting down local energy production will only make matters worse.
Vote NO on Measures A and B.
• Nancy Lindholm is president and CEO of the West Ventura County Business Alliance, the chamber of commerce for Oxnard and Camarillo.
EDITOR’S NOTE: For the case for Measures A and B, read this column. For the Business Times news coverage of the measures, read this article.