A "Protect our Water: Ban Fracking and Limit Risky Oil Operations Initiative" was submitted on February 23rd to the Monterey County Elections Office.
Now Protect Monterey County, the sponsor of the measure, needs to collect around 20,000 signatures in just six or seven weeks to get the initiative on the November 2016 ballot.
At least one hundred volunteers are needed from San Benito, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara and Bay Area counties.
Out of towners can canvass any weekend from Saturday, March 19th through Sunday, May 1st. Local activists will be able to accommodate folks overnight and provide breakfast and lunch.
You can come to one of the two campaign offices below. It would be helpful for bilingual (English and Spanish) speakers to check in to the Salinas office, which needs more volunteers at this time.
Monterey Campaign offices
801 Lighthouse Ave.
Monterey, CA 93940
201 John St, Suite J-3
Salinas, CA 93901
Uphill fight ahead: Donations are urgently needed to finance this crucial campaign against Dirty Oil
Protect Monterey County needs both canvassers and cash. Big Oil has already started running TV and radio ads and is expected to spend over $10 million. (Yes, you read that right. Ten million on a county land use initiative!) This might be the biggest fight ever for the November ballot. You can send checks to: Protect Monterey County #1378176 PO Box 1946, Monterey, CA 93942.
What does it mean to ban "fracking and risky oil operations"? Essentially this means banning all new drilling within the County's unincorporated area, and prohibiting the use of any land for hydraulic fracturing, acidizing, and any other types of well stimulation treatments.
The initiative would phase out oil and gas wastewater injection and wastewater ponds, and would additionally ban future wastewater injection/ponds. It's a pretty ambitious initiative, and local activists think it's politically passable.
Why is this initiative necessary? In 2008, Monterey County allowed Venoco to frack and acidize oil wells in Bradley, near the Salinas River. In 2015, Monterey County Supervisors rejected a fracking moratorium and regulations for oil operations.
Recently, the California Water Board notified six oil companies that they are illegally injecting wastewater into protected aquifers of the Salinas groundwater basin. For decades, Monterey County gave oil companies “blanket permits” to drill unlimited numbers of oil wells near the Salinas River, with no regulation.
Mendocino, Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties have banned fracking and dangerous oil operations. It’s time for Monterey County to do the same!
Why is the fight to end to end unconventional drilling in Monterey so important? From Section 14 of the Ballot Initiative:
Monterey County's Oil is Particularly Carbon-intensive. The oil in Monterey County is particularly thick and viscous, and it requires a significant amount of energy to extract and refine. Operators frequently use "enhanced" oil recovery techniques such as steam injection to heat the heavy oil deposits in order to bring them to the surface. These operations require more surface equipment, including combustion engines that burn fossil fuels and release air pollution and greenhouse gasses, therefore reducing the net energy gain from extracting the oil. Crude oil from Monterey's San Ardo oilfield is the second most carbon-intensive n California, and some of the most carbon-intensive in the world, according to the California Air Resources Board.
Read the complete ballot initiative here.