Business Owners Against Fracking
Help us counter the myth that fracking is somehow good for our economy. It is not. If you are a business owner or founder in Santa Barbara County, please sign this letter below. Your info is confidential and will only be shared with relevant business associations to build support for the initiative.
Sign the Letter
As a corporate founder or business owner in Santa Barbara County, I personally support the "Healthy Air and Water Initiative to Ban Fracking," and I ask business associations to do so as well.
I believe increases in high-intensity oil production are not a good choice for our local economy:
Water Risks: This initiative heads off future expansion of risky and polluting high-intensity techniques that are particularly problematic in our area because of their high water use, toxic chemicals, risk of water contamination, earthquakes and air pollution.
Job Risks: This initiative doesn't apply to existing projects or conventional oil production, and it doesn't put any existing jobs or revenue at risk. We can co-exist with current levels of conventional drilling, but not the kind of shale oil boom occurring in places like North Dakota. The oil industry currently employs fewer than 0.2% of SB County workforce (about 200). If it grows significantly, it would create a small number of new jobs, but water risks could negatively impact the 36,000 people employed in agriculture, tourism and wine.
Business Costs: Water-intensive production competes with agriculture for land and water, which could drive up water and food prices and hence the cost of doing business. It creates blight and smog that discourages tourism and technology.
Property Value Risks: Fracking and related extraction negatively affect the value of adjacent properties and businesses. The University of Alberta found that oil facilities “have significant negative associations with property prices.” Another study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that, “groundwater risk reduces property values by up to 24 percent” in fracking areas in Pennsylvania.
Brand Risks: It would harm our area "brand" -- critical for our businesses based on area reputation such as universities, tourism, wine and high-end goods. It was vintners in France who pushed a ban on fracking there for this reason. Tourism centers such as Santa Cruz and luxury cities such as Beverly Hills have also banned fracking.
Clean Energy Sector Opportunity: Our region is a center for energy-efficiency and clean energy research and development. Increasing oil production and political support for that undermines the new and emerging energy sector.
Economic Risks: Too much reliance on oil has negative long-term economic impacts. "Prolonged oil and natural gas specialization leads to lower per capita income, more crime, and less educational attainment." (Long-term effects of income specialization in oil and gas extraction: the U.S. West, 1980-2011, Headwater Economics, December 2013.) For example, in Kern County, which has 30 times more oil production than Santa Barbara County, unemployment is higher, and wages and property values are lower than in Santa Barbara County.
Unlike the State moratorium, the local ban is not regulatory in nature. This initiative is explicitly a land use and zoning ordinance that protects our existing economic sectors by declaring our County off-limits to extreme extraction not appropriate for our more populous, high-GDP region.
I personally would rather live and do business in a frack-free zone.