Recently, our Santa Barbara County Supervisory Board and a majority of my colleagues decided to send a letter to Sacramento in support of Senate Bill 467, co-authored by State Senators Monique Limón, D- Santa Barbara, and Scott Wiener, D -San Francisco.
Supervisor Steve Lavagnino and I declined to either second the motion or sign the letter as it seeks to undermine a long-standing industry in Santa Barbara County upon which all residents depend.
If passed, this bill would end more than 90 percent of all onshore oil production across California and result in the loss of more than 2,000 head of household jobs here locally.
Additionally, many of these jobs are based in North County and held by minorities, underscoring the continued struggle to find a balance in a bifurcated county in which north and south have two lifestyles and priorities. different.
One problem with sending out a letter of support for SB 467 is that it bears a striking resemblance to the Santa Barbara County P measure, a county-wide voting initiative that was overwhelmingly rejected by voters in 2014. By supporting SB 467, we as elected officials are not acting as public servants on behalf of those we represent. The people of Santa Barbara County have already expressed their opinion on this issue and the results have been clear.
Our residents and constituents understand that the petroleum industry continues to be an essential part of our daily lives and a necessary partner as we transition to alternative fuels and strive to meet the goals set by a cohesive legislature.
For example, then-Gov. Jerry Brown admitted help from the oil industry would be essential when he signed an executive order in 2018 declaring California to be carbon neutral by 2045.
While I may disagree with the orderly or feasibility of the policy, Brown is not incorrect in this statement. Our state and county do need the help of the oil industry if we are to achieve this goal, and we cannot take it out of service.
When Brown made his statement, I guess he was referring to the use and storage of carbon capture, or CCUS, a method of capturing and storing the carbon dioxide released during oil extraction. This modern technology helps mitigate carbon emissions during the oil extraction process and store them underground.
Whether you are a member of the oil industry, the Democratic Party or a Conservative, there is consensus: it will benefit our environment and is necessary to achieve this goal.
In the modern news cycle and political climate, reality is often lost and idealism wins. The reality is that SB 467 would put thousands of minorities out of work, increase our dependence on foreign oil from countries like Russia, and completely undermine the environmental values our country has articulated.
There is a way forward and, for the sake of the residents of North County and the job creators in our community, I hope that this path includes common sense and compromise.
– Supervisor Bob Nelson represents the Fourth District on the Santa Barbara County Supervisory Board and is this year’s board chair. The opinions expressed are his own.