The Healthy Air and Water Initiative to Ban Fracking

Visit the website for the latest info and FAQs.

Highlights of the initiative are below. Click here to read the full initiative.


Purpose of Initiative: The purpose of this Initiative is to protect the health and environment of Santa Barbara County—its air and water quality, water supplies, agricultural lands, scenic vistas, and quality of life—by prohibiting the use of any land within the County’s unincorporated area for High-Intensity Petroleum Operations. High-Intensity Petroleum Operations include hydraulic fracturing (also known as fracking), acid well stimulation treatments, cyclic steam injection and other types of oil and gas development that use advanced well stimulation technologies.

This Initiative recognizes and builds upon Santa Barbara County’s land use plans and adopted rules and regulations governing oil and gas development, including County of Santa Barbara Measure A, adopted in 1996. The Initiative includes provisions to protect vested rights and constitutionally protected property rights. The Initiative does not apply to off-site facilities or infrastructure, such as refineries and pipelines, that do not directly support High-Intensity Petroleum Operation(s).

A. Findings: The people of Santa Barbara County find that this Initiative promotes and protects the health, safety, welfare, and quality of life of County residents, based upon the following findings, any one of which would be sufficient reason to adopt this Initiative:

1. High-Intensity Petroleum Operations Are Different. 

2. Emissions From High-Intensity Petroleum Operations Will Degrade Our Air Quality and Contribute to Global Climate Change. 

3. Our Limited Water Supplies Should Be Preserved For Agricultural and Municipal Uses. 

4. Santa Barbara County Cannot Afford the Risks of Groundwater and Surface Water Pollution. 

5. High-Intensity Petroleum Operations Are Inconsistent With Our Agricultural Heritage. 

6. Earthquake Risks in Santa Barbara County Are Already Too High.

7. High-Intensity Petroleum Operations Will Degrade Our Scenic Vistas and Rural Areas. 

8. High-Intensity Petroleum Operations Could Harm the County’s Biological Resources. 

9. Permitting High-Intensity Petroleum Operations Is Not the Way to Grow a Healthy Economy. 


Note that Measure P does not apply to existing oil wells. Read Section 5 for the exemptions for existing operations and anything that would constitute a legal risk of takings. Existing and conventional oil production would continue under Measure P.

SECTION 5C: The provisions of this Initiative shall not be applicable to any person or entity that has obtained, as of the Effective Date of this Initiative, a vested right, pursuant to State law, to conduct a High-Intensity Petroleum Operation. 

Read the initiative.