September 22, 2023
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Letter to the Editor: Vote no on Measures A & B in Ventura County


Dear Editor,

One year ago, Venturans paid an average of $4.12 per gallon for gas. The average has now exceeded $5.90 and diesel fuel hit $6.49 this week. High fuel costs equal higher costs for food, materials, and commercial goods.

Rising prices are one of many concerns about Measures A and B. If they pass, it will be detrimental to businesses and residents.

California’s demand for energy far exceeds our production. Over 75% of California’s energy is imported. California is the third largest gasoline consumer on the planet, behind the entire U.S, and China — and our consumption is growing.

Every barrel of oil not produced in California must be imported. The largest source of California’s imported energy is the Amazon rainforest. California also imports hundreds of barrels each year from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Russia. California imported 15.5 million barrels from Russia in 2021.

California is an energy island. There are no pipelines to import oil to California. All imported oil arrives via tanker. A single tanker ship emits pollutants equivalent to 50 million vehicles each year. Hundreds of tanker ships are needed to meet California’s thirst for imported oil.

Increasing our reliance on foreign oil is strategically unwise. Increasing tanker traffic to supply imported oil makes a mockery of California’s “climate goals.” Increasing our reliance on foreign sources is hypocritical, at best. Foreign oil is more costly on all fronts.

Supporters claim Measures A and B only apply to “new” oil wells, but that is false. Measures A and B address specific zoning ordinance changes made in 2020. When the Board of Supervisors made these changes, they changed what types of production activities they considered “new.” Today, the county’s definition of “new” includes activities that are necessary for ongoing production and maintenance of wells. The county counsel’s “Impartial Analysis” clearly states that A and B do apply to “existing wells.”

The county’s argument for changing the language? County counsel told the board that oil companies “have had enough time” to produce oil. Will politicians only use this argument for the oil industry? Or will they use the same strategy on other businesses? Could politicians decide that Ventura County’s agricultural community has had “enough time” — and that it is time to end conventional agricultural land use in favor of something else?

Measures A and B destroy fairness and transparency by codifying the “new” language changes and granting politicians the power to deny and modify permits at will.

Shutting down local energy production reduces overall domestic supply, the opposite of what is needed to reduce gas prices. But the supporters of Measures A & B are tone-deaf to the impact of record-high energy prices on Ventura County residents.

Vote “No” on Measures A and B.

Rich Atmore
Board member, Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business (COLAB), Ventura County Cattleman’s Association and Ventura County Contractors Association