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Ban on certain forms of oil drilling headed to November ballot in Santa Barbara County

Flickr/Ben Klocek

The issue of fracking, acidizing, and other forms of oil and gas extraction in Santa Barbara County is headed to the November ballot.

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors met Friday for a special session in Santa Maria to discuss an oil drilling measure brought by the group Santa Barbara County Water Guardians, who collected roughly 16,000 valid signatures this spring.

An overflow crowd, both for and against the proposed ban, turned out for the public comment period.

"I want my students and my children to be able to trust the water they drink, and I want my grandchildren to have clean water for the foreseeable future," said one person who addressed the supervisors in favor of the ban. "The oil companies have completely lost the trust of the public on this issue."

"This ordinance will have a devastating effect on my family and on thousands like us," said a man opposed to the ban who collects royalties from drilling on his land. "I'm very proud of the producers in this county and how they produce oil in an environmentally-friendly manner."

Despite strong opinions on both sides of this heated issue, the interactions remained civil throughout the proceedings.

In the end, the board voted unanimously to submit the issue to the voters this coming November.