Santa Barbara rose to prominence in the environmental movement after a massive 1969 offshore oil spill drew national attention to the issue and changed the industry forever. Since then, the city and broader region has been a leader in environmental awareness, even as it sits on massive fossil fuel deposits. With residents set to vote on an anti-fracking ballot measure Tuesday, the next evolution in that ongoing dynamic could be one of the biggest turning points yet.
“It’s no surprise that international oil giants have funneled money into the anti-Measure P effort,” Lauren Hanson, vice president of the Goleta Water Board and long-time area resident, told ThinkProgress. Goleta is located immediately next to Santa Barbara. “That this is so important to them — to take over beautiful Santa Barbara County at virtually any cost — is a demonstration of cynical corporate overreaching at its worst.”
Hanson said the real surprise has been that the onslaught of industry money hasn’t discouraged residents, and that even if the oil companies win this round “they had better prepare for a long, long struggle here.”