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Central Coast Bans on Energy Production Would Harm Workers, Hurt Local Economy

California’s oil and gas industry provides hundreds of thousands of jobs and pays billions in tax revenue each year, according to a new study by the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) released this week by the Western States Petroleum As

Central Coast Bans on Energy Production Would Harm Workers, Hurt Local Economy

California’s oil and gas industry provides hundreds of thousands of jobs and pays billions in tax revenue each year, according to a new study by the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) released this week by the Western States Petroleum Association. In contrast, local proposals to limit oil extraction could threaten these significant economic contributions and increase the state’s dependence on foreign oil sources.

The LAEDC study demonstrates the petroleum industry on the Central Coast is a huge source of jobs and economic activity. Highlights from the report include:
• In 2012, the petroleum industry contributed to 24,210 total jobs on the Central Coast and generated more than $1.6 billion in labor income.
• On the Central Coast, the state and local taxes paid by companies and individuals involved in the petroleum industry total $1.1 billion.
• In Santa Barbara County, the petroleum industry contributed to 3,414 total jobs and generated more than $349 million in labor income.
• In Monterey County, the petroleum industry contributed to 1,087 total jobs and generated more than $109 million in labor income.
• Jobs created or supported by the petroleum industry statewide generate $40 billion in labor income, which is 3.1% of California's total labor income.
• Statewide, the petroleum industry's total economic value is $113 billion, which is 5.4% of California’s total gross domestic product and is larger than the economies of 17 U.S. states.

“Thousands of quality jobs on the Central Coast come as a result of the oil and gas industry, which generates significant local tax revenues and creates buying power for our local businesses. This industry serves as an economic engine for both large and small businesses throughout our community,” said Andy Caldwell, Executive Director of the Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business (COLAB).

Santa Barbara, San Benito and Monterey Counties are considering measures to restrict safe, proven oil extraction technologies. Earlier this month, the California Chamber of Commerce designated two proposed state laws to limit oil production as “Job Killers”.

California currently produces slightly more than a third of the crude oil it needs every day to meet the demand for gasoline, diesel and jet fuel and seven percent of that oil comes from production on the Central Coast. The rest of the oil we need every day is imported, almost all of it in ships and much of it from foreign governments like Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Ecuador, which do not have the same environmental standards as California.

“Any reduction in domestic oil production here means more dependence on foreign oil,” said Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association. “We should be looking for ways to encourage more domestic production of oil and jobs that go with it rather than passing laws that reduce our domestic energy production.”

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SafeEnergy California (SafeEnergyCalifornia)

Californians for a Safe, Secure Energy Future is a coalition designed to educate the public and correct misinformation about proven, safe oil extraction technologies. For more information, visit:


Submitted by (Warren samuels) on

Jobs created can be a very misleading statistic, meaning the oil and gas companies can take credit for any far fetched connection to their industry.

We can create many, if not more jobs by decreasing our dependency on fossil fuels. Jobs created through renewable energies are sustainable as the word renewable; the sun and wind most likely aren't going to run out!

There's no peak production on a star for more than 15 billion years! I'd like to see or not see oil attempt that! Why continue driving the environment into a wall going a hundred miles per hour?

This ad is a seriously sad attempt to persuade people we actually need to continue in a desperately bad direction for humanity in the name of job creation. The jobs are there and very important, but we don't need oil jobs. They're unsustainable and dangerous .

Good try, big oil and gas!

Submitted by (Sean Hagen) on

CSUMB student here, I have done research on the topic. The goal is not to ban conventional drilling, but to ban fracking, which hurts the environment, AND the local economy, MUCH more than it helps. Fracking is very short sighted.

Submitted by (frank schubert) on

This study is so one sided and bias it is completely useless. Having worked in the O&G industry gives me a perspective on the the claims in this study.

The O&G industry, like all big business has reduced its manpower need to cut costs and, having witnessed this first hand, I can tell you these job numbers are not real at all. The reality is that California has reduced its gas needs through conservation and efficiency and can, and will, do more in the future.

The O&G industry is running scared and will keep paying for these stupid studies to try to keep their strangle hold on the American economy. I look forward to the oil free economy that is coming down the road in the not too distant future.

Individually, the O&G people are good folks, but as a group they are a dying animal that is striking out to stay alive and will take anyone they can down with them.

Harm workers??? Big oil could care less about workers.

Think about it.

Submitted by Mindy Scherr (mindysch) on

The oil & gas industry folks who submit articles & ads like this do not live here!  Of course THE INDUSTRY is going to do everything it can to protect its economic interests, using scare tactics about job losses. They WON'T talk about the way our water quality, health & property values will plummet once the irreversible damage of fracking & extreme extraction methods is done. I choose instead to listen to friends with family in Texas, who've experienced the negative consequences of fracking first hand. I will trust Joe Citizen over a CEO or company spokesperson any day. 

San Benito Rising has not submitted any data to support its claims specific to San Benito County. All the group is doing is preaching gloom and doom with zero evidence that existing or future petroleum will cause environmental harm in order to foist its belief system on an ill informed community. 

The status quo system of environmental review for energy extraction works and the State of California is in the process of implementing Senate Bill 4: the most stringent regulations of hydraulic fracturing in the United States. Those who deny the value of the energy industry should donate their petroleum powered vehicles to the Sierra Club as a genuine act of faith in this misguided effort to ban oil and gas business in San Benito County. 

Submitted by (Will McGuire) on

Anyone remember the little town of Hinkley, it used to be just north of Barstow, CA - a small farming community, mostly dairy and hay farmers, it's now mostly deserted, the water and land poisoned with chemicals used by PG&E, here's a 2011 update to the story

Submitted by (Chris Martorana) on

Great sales job here. Banging away at the jobs issue. It's really their only choice.
I'm more concerned with the threat to our water supply. That's the concern my neighbors are talking about. Even giving the industry the benefit of the doubt, there's enough cause for concern that I'm simply unwilling to chance it.
San Benito county is an oasis on the edge of the metropolis. Bringing in hundreds or thousands of outsiders to compete for the already expensive rental homes doesn't sound great to me. Sure they'll spend money. They'll also send a big chunk of it back home. It'll bring the sorts of development we don't want. How long will the boom last? What do the boom towns look like 30 years on?
How about a couple statistics from the other side:
The U.S. is the 3rd largest oil producing country in the world as of 2013 and is on track to be the largest in 2015. Where's the foreign oil dependence I keep hearing about?
The U.S. government says 6-7% of the well caps they're going to use to protect our water will fail. 6-7%. That doesn't sound real safe to me.
The industry is exempt from the EPA clean air and clean water standards. That's a dirty little secret they really don't want you to know.
I say we stop the 'tracking' until we know our water supply is truly protected. It doesn't have to be forever, but we need to put the brakes on so we can keep San Benito County and the rest of the Central Coast from being the latest Superfund site.


The problem with your risk averse philosophy is that it denies all property owners and oil company interests from exercising their constitutional rights to utilize their respective property and/or mineral rights thus denying them equal protection under the law and taking away their legal rights. In doing so, you are obligating the San Benito County Government to defend such action at all costs, exposing the county to extremely expensive litigation. In case you hadn't heard, the county is deficit spending as it is; i.e. we're broke and can't afford such a law suit. From what I've heard, oil company lawyers have already committed to legal action against the county when and if the initiative becomes law and impacts their clients rights to earn a rate of return on their investments. And I'm guessing that we are talking tens of millions of dollars in legal costs/punitive damages, etc. San Benito Rising doesn't provide any cost accounting for the potential legal liability likely to be borne by the taxpayers of San Benito County here. 

There is some precedent under the law - development in Lake Tahoe has been curtailed due to proven environmental impacts to the lake - but in this case, I would argue, there is no data available that equates petroleum extraction in San Benito County with pollution/contamination of the water supply. You can believe that it will, but there is no data to support that belief. 

Some comment that the oil industry is a greedy, evil entity that deserves to be denied its right to conduct business here based on everything from the Exxon Valdez to the Gulf Oil spill. But denying them the right to conduct business here will become a very expensive proposition that we cannot afford. When the issue goes to court, the oil industry will call on the federal government EPA and the State of California/Senate Bill 4 as well as local planning laws - all which currently support oil and gas extraction/production - in defense of their rights to conduct business under the Commerce Clause and San Benito County government will be left holding the bag as it were.

I totally understand the emotional response that San Benito Rising has elicited from its supporters. It's an easy message to sell - poisoned water - that simply does not have precedent here in the county. And San Benito Rising/Sierra Club is immune to the legal costs to defend the new law. 

The oil industry is NOT exempt from Senate Bill 4 in California. The State of California has primacy authority to meet or exceed federal EPA standards for clean air and clean water standards which it has already established. And that's a dirty little secret that San Benito Rising doesn't want anyone to know. 



Submitted by (Will McGuire) on

Hummm, now who's using "Scare Tactics?", Now Michael you are starting to get it!, there is a "High Moral Cause" as you say, that never seemed to enter your mind before! Good For You!

Submitted by (Chris Martorana) on

Maybe it hasn't occurred to you that we understand the impacts and simply don't think they outweigh the other risks. It's a judgement call we each need to make. Also, people believing what they want afflicts both sides. That's human nature.
Here are a couple questions: do you believe the City can legally restrict how tall a building I build on my lot? What is the legal basis for them to do so? Why can't I sink a well in my backyard?
I don't want to pay the high water rates in San Juan. Aren't they impinging on my rights? I want to put a retail complex on the bottom floor. Isn't that an unfair restriction? When your actions affect those around you, they get to have input. The difficulty here is we don't know what the impact will be. The land owners are going to affect my water too. That's not OK with me.
How long has the State been studying the effects? They haven't. They've only recently put in place guidelines and started collecting ANY data related to 'fracking' operations. That's the problem with so many of the arguments being raised. No one knows what the effects will be. I'm asking to hold off until we get better data on which to base a decision.
By the way, I don't trust the government to make a decision consistent with my wishes. There's too much money involved.

Submitted by (Robert Robe) on

If this drilling is going to put so many local people to work and put Billions of dollars into the local economy how come the oil companies cannot make sure that no-ones water supply will ever be compromised. They can't and they won't. And they will not get my vote.

Submitted by (Andy Hsia-Coron) on

Most of these "truest economic stakeholders" that you mention, the farmers and ranchers are just realizing that they do not own the mineral rights under their land. Because of the legal phenomenon called "split estate" someone else who doesn't care about the stewardship that that farmer, rancher, orchardist, or vintner has been showering on their land can just come in and frack it all to hell. If you haven't seen the documentary, Split Estate, you should, everyone should. Here is the link: - Video Tube for YouTube - iPhone/iPad

Many of these farmers, ranchers, orchardists, and vintners are just beginning to realize that our initiative is one of the last mechanisms for saving what they value from those who frankly don't give a dam. That's why an increasing number of them are supporting the initiative and urging their fellows to do the same.
Andy Hsia-Coron


I disagree that you or anyone else associated with San Benito Rising represents the best interests of the farming and ranching community. If the proposed petroleum extraction ban initiative were sponsored by the Farm Bureau, 4H and/or Cattleman's Assocation it would have considerably more merit and respect. If these stewards of the land agree that surrendering their property rights is beneficial to their operations I would take notice and make similar inquiries to those parties.

It is particularly telling that your group's main selling point to subvert the existing planning process as the best course of action to stop the imminent poison of our local water does not include a representative and supporting commentary from the San Benito County Water District who manages the local watershed. If Jeff Cattaneo and the SBCWD board commissioners support San Benito Rising's position, I would expect that agency to perform an engineered, science- based survey showing the precedent of petroleum/potable water cross contamination and the inherent risk of future extraction opportunities. Obviously, that professional reference by the local water manager in support of your cause is conspicuously absent which is extremely suspect. 

As it is now, your references to environmental youtube videos are not convincing, factual evidence to support the proposed petroleum extraction ban here in San Benito County. But I have to agree that they help promote your cause to the average person who doesn't want to bother with making an informed decision regarding land-use issues. 

Finally, I'm not sure why you are resorting to profanity at this stage of the vigorous debate of this issue. As I wrote previously, I will leave out religious references to hell and damnation as I view this public forum more about science- based factual evidence. But I understand your emphatic frustration at being unable to articulate a science-based position in favor of the proposed petroleum ban. 

Mike Smith 

Submitted by (Dana) on

Michael Smith,

If the oil/gas companies are so convinced of their data and analysis, then purchasing bonds that ensure the delivery of alternative water sources (at current local water company rates) if water tables are contaminated, or for the cleanup and restoration once the extraction is complete would seem to be in order. Also, if the risks to increased seismic activity resulting from hydraulic fracturing is really that low, then low cost earthquake insurance should be available. Granted, the risk of earthquakes in San Benito County prior to hydraulic fracturing activities is already high. This however begs an even more important question, why would a rational person who considers personal safety and human life important even consider increasing the risk of seismic activities around residential areas and school grounds?

It should not just be about the money and/or benefiting a few businesses for a period of time. We need to seriously consider health and seismic safety issues, and, most important, what protects the safety and welfare of families living in and around San Benito County.

Based on a long list of peer reviewed journal articles that cross several disciplines and domains, hydraulic fracturing in areas near interconnected transverse fault structures is a high-risk proposition.

Why should San Benito County and its residents assume most of the risks (safety, health, etc.) related to hydraulic fracturing while the oil and gas companies and a few business assume most of the benefits?

Framing the discussion about hydraulic fracturing in San Benito County around economic issues does not consider critical human factors, important ethical issues, or what is our moral duty to protect the families and the children who live in San Benito County against well-known (theoretical and empirical) health and safety risks.

References related to paragraph four:

Fehler, M., House, L., & Kaieda, H. (1987). Determining planes along which earthquakes occur: method and application to earthquakes accompanying hydraulic fracturing. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth (1978–2012), 92(B9), 9407-9414.
Bame, D., & Fehler, M. (1986). Observations of long period earthquakes accompanying hydraulic fracturing. Geophysical Research Letters, 13(2), 149-152.
Fletcher, J. B., & Sykes, L. R. (1977). Earthquakes related to hydraulic mining and natural seismic activity in western New York State. Journal of Geophysical Research, 82(26), 3767-3780.
"Determining planes along which earthquakes occur: Method and application to earthquakes accompanying hydraulic fracturing"
Abstract: "Although it is generally accepted that earthquakes occur along preexisting faults, the distribution of earthquake locations is often so smeared that the underlying fault or joint structures along which the earthquakes occur cannot be inferred from visual inspection of location plots. We present a statistical method for identifying fault or joint planes within what may otherwise appear to be an amorphous earthquake location set. The method takes all the hypocenters in an event set three at a time in order to determine the strikes and dips of all possible planes within the event set. A procedure for correcting for the shape of the region in which the earthquakes occur is applied. After correction, the orientation (one or a few) that is seen most often is taken as that of the zone of preexisting fault(s) or joint(s). We applied the method to a set of hypocenters determined for microearthquakes that accompanied a hydraulic injection into crystalline rock. The method was able to resolve successively five statistically significant orientations (planes) along which most of the microearthquakes occurred. The first two planes determined by the method are parallel to one nodal plane from each of the two most commonly found fault plane solutions. One of the two planes intersects the injection well bore at a location where water is known to have entered the rock during the injection. The planes identified thus coincide with the major fluid paths during the hydraulic injection."
"Observations of long period earthquakes accompanying hydraulic fracturing"
Abstract: "Waveforms of most seismic events accompanying hydraulic fracturing have been reported to contain clear P and S waves and have fault plane solutions consistent with shear displacement across a fault. This observation is surprising since classical hydraulic fracturing theory predicts the creation of a tensile opening of a cavity in response to fluid pressure. Very small long period events, similar to long period earthquakes observed at volcanoes, were found to occur during four hydraulic fracturing experiments carried out at Fenton Hill, New Mexico. Since the long period earthquakes occur in the same region as the shear type events, it is concluded that the unusual character of the long period earthquake waveforms is due to a source effect and not a path effect. The occurrence of long period earthquakes during hydraulic fracturing could indicate tensile fracturing. Many waveforms of these events are identical, which implies that these events represent repeated activation of a given source. A proposed source for these long period events is the sudden opening of a channel that connects two cracks filled with fluid at different pressures. The sizes of the two cracks differ, which causes two or more peaks to appear in the spectra, each peak being associated with one physical dimension of each crack. From the frequencies at which spectral peaks occur, crack lengths are estimated to be between 3 and 20m."
"Earthquakes related to hydraulic mining and natural seismic activity in western New York State"
Abstract: "We have monitored the seismic activity of western New York since 1970 using a combination of up to eight permanent seismograph stations and several portable stations. Our investigation centered on the Attica-Dale area, the site of several damaging earthquakes in this century. Although the background level of seismicity was found to be extremely low, less than one event per month in the first 12 months of our study, this near quiescence was broken in 1971 by a sharp increase in seismicity at our site near Dale following the initiation of fluid injection under high pressure (120 bars tophole) at a hydraulic mining operation nearby. This facility, which mines salt from the Vernon Formation of Silurian age, is centered near the Clarendon-Linden Fault, a major north-south trending system of high-angle thrust faults that extends for over 100 km from Lake Ontario to Allegheny County, New York. Although the seismic events were small (none were recorded at our station 30 km to the northwest), as many as 80 occurred per day, and many were felt locally. The marked increase in seismic activity after attaining high pressures, the closeness of these events to the bottom of the injection well, and the near cessation of activity within 48 hours of the shutdown of injection strongly suggest that this activity was caused by the triggering of tectonic strain on or near the Clarendon-Linden Fault by the high fluid pressures of the mining operation. The minimum pressure (41–48 bars) at which seismic activity occurred is consistent with predictions made by applying the Hubbert and Rubey theory of effective stress to hydrofracturing stress measurements from Alma, New York. Since 1972, five other wells at Dale have been hydrofractured at pressures of about 110 bars, but none had abrupt changes in seismic activity associated with them during the high-pressure phases of pumping. The well used in 1971 (0.43 km deep) is the closest (about 50 m) of the six to the Clarendon-Linden Fault. It was hydrofractured near the base of the salt layer, whereas the others were hydrofractured well within the salt layer. Thus fluids under high pressure appear to have reached the Clarendon-Linden Fault in 1971 but not in the other five cases. A focal mechanism involving thrust faulting on a plane nearly parallel to the Clarendon-Linden Fault was obtained from events that continue to occur but at a much reduced level in the brine field in 1974 and 1975. An earthquake of magnitude 2.7, which occurred about 7 km to the west of the brine field in 1973, is apparently unrelated to the injection operation and is of natural origin. This and other nearby natural events appear to be associated with the western and southwestern branches of the Clarendon-Linden Fault. Hydraulic diffusivity values calculated from the space-time relationship of earthquakes triggered by fluid injection at Denver and Rangely, Colorado, Matsushiro, Japan, and Dale are about 104 and 105 cm2/s and are similar to those obtained from precursory anomalies of earthquakes. The similarity of the diffusivity values suggests that the precursory changes do involve the movement of water. In each of these four places the wells used for fluid injection bottomed into or very close to major fault zones."

Additional Peer reviewed Journal articles:
"Locating microearthquakes induced by hydraulic fracturing in crystalline rock"
House, L. (1987). Locating microearthquakes induced by hydraulic fracturing in crystalline rock. Geophysical Research Letters, 14(9), 919-921.
"Simultaneous inversion for Q and source parameters of microearthquakes accompanying hydraulic fracturing in granitic rock"
Fehler, M., & Phillips, W. S. (1991). Simultaneous inversion for Q and source parameters of microearthquakes accompanying hydraulic fracturing in granitic rock. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 81(2), 553-575.
Abstract: "An inversion that fits spectra of earthquake waveforms and gives robust estimates of corner frequency and low-frequency spectral amplitude has been used to determine source parameters of 223 microearthquakes induced by hydraulic fracturing in granodiorite. Assuming a ω−2 source model, the inversion fits the P-wave spectra of microearthquake waveforms to determine individual values of corner frequency and low-frequency spectral amplitude for each event and one average frequency-independent Q for all source-receiver paths. We also implemented a constraint that stress drops of all microearthquakes be similar but not equal and found that this constraint did not significantly degrade the quality of the fits to the spectra. The waveforms analyzed were recorded by a borehole seismometer. The P-wave Q was found to be 1070. For Q values as low as 600 and as high as 3000, the misfit between model and spectra increased by less than 5 per cent and the average corner frequency changed by less than 15 per cent from those obtained with a Q of 1070. Average stress drop was 3.7 bars. Seismic moments obtained from spectra ranged from 1013 to 1018 dyne-cm. The low stress drops are interpreted to result from underestimation of the actual stress drops because of a nonuniform distribution of stress drop and slip along the fault planes. Spatially varying stress drops and slips result from the strong rock heterogeneity due to the injection of fluid into the rock. Stress drops were found to be larger near the edges of the seismic zone, in regions that had not been seismically active during previous injections."
Abstract: "Microearthquakes induced by hydraulic fracturing in crystalline rock at a depth of 3.5 km were located with a precision of better than 30 m to obtain information about the geometry and dimensions of the fracture system produced. The induced microseismicity was monitored by a network of five borehole seismic stations; a total of about 800 induced events were reliably located from arrival times. Event locations show a tabular distribution that strikes 350° and dips 65° east, subparallel to the injection well. The injection was intended to produce a fracture system that would hydraulically connect two subparallel wells. A lack of fluid communication between them is consistent with a lack of induced microearthquakes near the target wellbore. The 150 m thickness of the zone of seismicity far exceeds the relative locational uncertainties. The injected fluid appears to have stimulated a zone of rock, rather than simply a single fracture. The distribution of microseismic events presumably envelops the zone of fluid paths created by the fracture experiment."
"Importance of Stratabound Fracture Networks for Seismic Hazard Assessment of Hydraulic Fracturing"
Eaton, D. W., Davidsen, J., Pedersen, P. K., & Boroumand, N. (2013, December). Importance of Stratabound Fracture Networks for Seismic Hazard Assessment of Hydraulic Fracturing. In AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts (Vol. 1, p. 08).
Abstract: "Hydraulic fracturing, a powerful completion technique used to enhance oil or gas production from impermeable strata, may trigger unintended earthquake activity. The primary basis for assessment of triggered and natural seismic hazard is the classic Gutenberg-Richter (G-R) relation, which expresses scale-independent behavior of earthquake magnitudes. Using a stochastic approach to simulate microseismicity from three monitoring programs in North America, we show that magnitude-distance trends for microearthquakes induced by hydraulic fracturing may deviate significantly from the G-R relation. This apparent breakdown in the power-law scaling paradigm, coupled with unusually high values for the b-parameter (slope) of the G-R relation, can be explained by a new model based on activation of stratabound fracture networks in which fracture height growth is limited by mechanical bed thickness. For the three areas considered, mechanical bed thickness is well represented by a lognormal distribution, which leads asymptotically to a Gaussian decay for induced magnitudes that fits the observations remarkably well. This new relationship has profound implications for understanding the scaling behavior of induced microearthquakes, as well as for forecasting the probability of larger earthquakes triggered by hydraulic fracturing in oil and gas development."


I extracted the parts of your post worthy of response; the cut and paste studies from other parts of the country do not interest me.

If the oil/gas companies are so convinced of their data and analysis, then purchasing bonds that ensure the delivery of alternative water sources (at current local water company rates) if water tables are contaminated, or for the cleanup and restoration once the extraction is complete would seem to be in order. Answer: You are entitlted to your opinion on this and can certainly lobby your county supervisor without banning all oil extraction in San Benito County.

Also, if the risks to increased seismic activity resulting from hydraulic fracturing is really that low, then low cost earthquake insurance should be available. Granted, the risk of earthquakes in San Benito County prior to hydraulic fracturing activities is already high. This however begs an even more important question, why would a rational person who considers personal safety and human life important even consider increasing the risk of seismic activities around residential areas and school grounds? Answer: We should defer to guidance from the state and the rule of law relative to Senate Bill 4. You are correct that San Benito County has a lot of earthquakes, but I would defer to a geologist and/or geological study rather than taking away property rights from our neighbors as it appears you are comfortable doing. 

It should not just be about the money and/or benefiting a few businesses for a period of time. We need to seriously consider health and seismic safety issues, and, most important, what protects the safety and welfare of families living in and around San Benito County. Answer: So far, it does not appear that existing oil and gas wells have compromised the safety and welfare of families in San Benito County. I disagree with you that property owners should be punished with a drastic and draconian land-use prohibitians for no cause as you suggest. Everyone is entitiled to equal protection under the law, including gas and oil producers and property owners with petroleum based resources underground. You and I honestly cannot afford to be on the losing end of a class action lawsuit by oil companies and property owners as taxpayers...well, I cannot anyway. 

Based on a long list of peer reviewed journal articles that cross several disciplines and domains, hydraulic fracturing in areas near interconnected transverse fault structures is a high-risk proposition. Answer: This is obviously debatable and you have no facts or studies to conclude that taking away property rights is the appropriate solution to property owners in San Benito County. Your opinion is your "article of faith or belief system" that compels you to support the subversion of the status quo land use planning system that treats all property owners equally. You have identified a specific industry - oil producers - and decided that they should have no rights to conduct safe and sound business practices in San Benito County. In my opinion, this is an unacceptable bias. 

Why should San Benito County and its residents assume most of the risks (safety, health, etc.) related to hydraulic fracturing while the oil and gas companies and a few business assume most of the benefits? Answer: Most businesses assume financial risk while investing in their enterprise. Senate Bill 4 is the most stringent set of regulations in the U.S. that addresses safety, health, etc. Please read it. As I have previously expressed, spinach crops in San Benito County have killed more people in the U.S. than oil/gas operations. Do you advocate for banning spinach and eradicating livestock and feral pigs that caused the e. coli contamination?

Framing the discussion about hydraulic fracturing in San Benito County around economic issues does not consider critical human factors, important ethical issues, or what is our moral duty to protect the families and the children who live in San Benito County against well-known (theoretical and empirical) health and safety risks. Answer: Thus, you are comfortable enforcing land-use prohibitions against your neighbors based on your understanding of this issue. The problem I have with San Benito Rising and its draconian initiative is that no one, including you, have provided any site specific geological and/or hydrological data to support your 'worse case scenario' fears. I doubt you have discussed your concerns with anyone from the San Benito County Water District or the county planning department regarding the status quo process or history of water supply contamination in the county. You may be afraid that airplanes and automobiles crash and kill people, thus, we should prohibit those forms of transportation but too many people utilize those forms of transportation and would disregard the health and safety concern in favor of convenient and statistically safe transportation. Fracking is safe and property owners and oil companies should be free to exercise their rights to produce petroleum based energy right here in San Benito County. 

Submitted by (Holly Cornetto) on

Thousands of quality jobs "COULD" come? Oh please! And "QUALITY" jobs? Working in a poisonous environment is not what I would consider a quality job. The only quality jobs will be for the big shots who will be brought in from other areas. I don't buy it. No poisoning of our earth, water and wildlife is worth the risk of oil. How about oil companies focus they're big money on wind and solar energy? Hey, that's an idea! Let's get off oil dependency before it's too late for our future generations. Let's start going forward instead of back peddling. Oil extraction is not safe in earthquake country, PERIOD!

Ms. Cometto, it concerns me that you do not seem to aware that biggest investors in renewable energy are the  energy and engineering companies who do oil and gas not to mention the U.S, government.  And who has been some of the biggest opponents of indistrial-sized projects needed to power the economy?  Why the environmental lobby, of course (see the record of the local fight over the Panoche Valley Project).  Where do you stand on that personally, just curious?

Yet, with all that money and effort renewable energy is not ready for primetime, it is difficult to generate, store and to transfer and "solutions" such as corn for ethanol or a hundred times riskier than oil and gas (doubling down on the weather) and driving the cost of food through the roof..

Per the Heritage Foundation in 2012 here is a list of faltering or bankrupt green-energy companies and their losses... *Denotes companies that had already filed for bankruptcy.:

Evergreen Solar ($25 million)*
SpectraWatt ($500,000)*
Solyndra ($535 million)*
Beacon Power ($43 million)*
Nevada Geothermal ($98.5 million)
SunPower ($1.2 billion)
First Solar ($1.46 billion)
Babcock and Brown ($178 million)
EnerDel’s subsidiary Ener1 ($118.5 million)*
Amonix ($5.9 million)
Fisker Automotive ($529 million)
Abound Solar ($400 million)*
A123 Systems ($279 million)*
Willard and Kelsey Solar Group ($700,981)*
Johnson Controls ($299 million)
Brightsource ($1.6 billion)
ECOtality ($126.2 million)
Raser Technologies ($33 million)*
Energy Conversion Devices ($13.3 million)*
Mountain Plaza, Inc. ($2 million)*
Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Company ($10 million)*
Range Fuels ($80 million)*
Thompson River Power ($6.5 million)*
Stirling Energy Systems ($7 million)*
Azure Dynamics ($5.4 million)*
GreenVolts ($500,000)
Vestas ($50 million)
LG Chem’s subsidiary Compact Power ($151 million)
Nordic Windpower ($16 million)*
Navistar ($39 million)
Satcon ($3 million)*
Konarka Technologies Inc. ($20 million)*
Mascoma Corp. ($100 million)

Does that look like some kind of slam-dunk to you?

Additionally, the vast majority of solar panels are made overseas (panel dependence is just as bad as oil dependence),  Of the top 5 mannufacturers, only one is U.S., one Japanese, three are Chinese, why?  Well one reason is the environmental lobby opposes mining or working with the necessary rare earth minerals required to make panels and America's panels are expensive in a market that already requires massive subsidies.  You simply cannot oppose everything except the perfect solution because there is no perfect solution.

Were it possible to turn a switch and go non-fossil tomorrow I would do it, but not only is it impossible, it is unreasonable.  Statements such as "Oil extraction is not safe in earthquake country, PERIOD!" are not evidence, and you are not going to close the debate by saying "PERIOD!" even in capital letters.

The ban you are supporting would not even take effect until after the state report on seismic safety is in and there is no provision to even take the report into consideration - ban, ban, ban, If you are so concerned about seismic safety why would you live in a active earthquake zone anyway?  The Big One is coming, you know, perhaps we should ban all homes, businesses and permanent structures in areas subject to earthquakes?  Oh, yes, we will give everyone one year to get out, just like this proposed ban.

You are correct in one aspect, working an oil rig is not a quality job, but thousands of our residents commute to quality jobs form here using gasoline-powered vehicles, and the farmers use gasoline and diesel-powerd equipment (including all those pickup trucks, perhaps you own one too, or a van, I don't).  I filled up today and gas was more than $4 a gallon, scarcity of supply could drive that easily to $8 a gallon, perhaps $10.  You think I'm exaggerating?  I lived through the '73 boycott.

Lucikly for me I'm retired so I do not have to work or commute, under the back-to-the-woods plan favored by those who would just turn off all the spigots without a workable solution for energy all those commuters will be broke or unemployed.  The biggest problems with this proposal are that it does not comport with the facts and, worse, does not make sense.  I am not pro-fracking or pro-oil, but I am anti-ban and anti-economic suicide, that is an important difference.

Marty Richman

Submitted by (Holly Cornetto) on

Marty, I'm not on here to debate. I'm just voicing my personal opinion which I am entitled to just as you are.

Ms. Cornetto, you are certainly entitled your opinion, but as I pointed out to someone else, you are not entitled to your own facts.  I strognly disagree with your position; therefore, you would not expect me fail to comment on it.  When you say. "I'm not on here to debate" that is not binding on me, no one is forcing you to respond, we both know that we are giving our views to the voters as well as each other.  Even the ballot has arguments and rebulltal .

Marty Richman

John Freeman's picture

Hi Mary,

Some of companies that you list are fortune 500 sized companies, that have not suffered any losses of money. Specifically Johnson Controls, Navistar, and LG Chem are all making money lots of it in fact.  Furthermore many of companies such as Sunpower are extremely well established and have profitable for many years.  Yes many of the panels are made in China, but many are made right here is Silcon Valley, Stion, Sunpower, CaliSolar and MiaSolar all manufacture panels as fast as they can right here in the bay area.  Chinese panels are expensive to ship and there costs are only a little lower than panels manufactured here in California.  Yes there are many regulations that cause problems, but China has specifically cornered the market on the rare earth minerals that you speak of.  We allowed that because 99% percent of our electronics manufacturing is occurring in the Far East.  In start-up situations there are always going to be more losers than winners, the winners will just go on to be really big and profitable (think Tesla). I think that ecomonic arguments for and against fracking miss the point. The point is that fracking process is inherentanltly unsafe as Chris Mortorana pointed out.  Six to 8 percent of their wells leak at the casing, and this cannot be good. Since the process has never been regulated the true scope of its safety or lack thereof cannot be presently ascertained.  Banning it here is the safest way to protect our water supply.  Just wanted to get different but true set of facts out in the conversation.

Submitted by (Tomas Rebecchi) on

How about you start using your real title when writing petroleum/gas industry adds like this. "CALIFORNIANS FOR A SAFE, SECURE ENERGY FUTURE, INCLUDING ENERGY COMPANIES WHO PRODUCE GAS, OIL, JOBS AND PAY TAXES"
Stop trying to hide the fact that you're a group paid for by outside oil companies, not a grassroots group like San Benito Rising (which was started by only San Benito County residents, despite ridiculous claims that we're an outside group). Everyone reading this pseudo-article should keep an eye out for this astro-turf Political Action Committee. Start watching where their funding is coming from as soon as they start posting contributions and expenditures made Here's a link to their page on the Secretary of State's website.

Submitted by (Will McGuire) on

oooohh, Mike & Marty, shame shame, you haven't reported yet? after the election? isn't that a little illegal?

Mr. McGuire, I assume that innuendo means you are out of any real rebuttal; let's call it your informal surrender.  As the old saying goes - you are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.

I hold the positions I do because it is very important to let the public know the actual facts,  You may find this hard to believe, but I consider "comments" such as this as a compliment to my case and a tool - it works to point out that all you are offering are shallow, mostly empty, arguments.

In any case thanks for showing the public your true face, which is intolerance of views other than your own.  One hopes the voters will take notice.

Marty Richman

Bob Reid's picture
Submitted by Bob Reid on

Mr. McGwire,

Regarding your comment referring to Mr. Richman and Mr. Smith's comments.

I personally know Mr. Smith and Mr. Richman and know their opinions to be their own and that they are not speaking for anyone else. I realize that you do not have the benefit of that knowledge. 

Please feel free to attack someone's presentation of facts, but not the person. I expect that you would desire the same treatment.

Here on BenitoLink it is our intent to give opportunity for differing perspectives. It is perfectly acceptable to disagree, however we require that comments be civil, which for our purposes here, we will identify as being polite. 

If you are not willing to respect that requirement, I suggest you do not meet our Terms of Use. 

We feel that it is a useful public service to present this opportunity and expect that especially those whom have been utilizing this forum will be respectful of the need for civility. If not, there are other places which can be utilized and your participation there may not have the same expectation. 

Submitted by (Will McGuire) on

Mr Reid, It appears I may have touched some sensitive nerves, the response has been more enlightening than I expected. This method of boosting readership by creating controversy can be quite effective and in this case has worked well, I'm sure we'll see more of these red herring articles from anonymous authors. Were Mark Twain still walking among us I have no doubt he too would find threats of banishment in his inbox.
I'll take your warnings under advisement but make no promises for now.
Bill McGuire

Bob Reid's picture
Submitted by Bob Reid on

Mr. McGwire,

I sympathize with your frustration at postings from organizations, rather than individuals. This was instituted because there were many people who wished to be able to post things for their organizations without it being attributed to them personally, as well as having an individual account for their personal postings. Perhaps there is a way to show who the posting individual is. I will consider that.

I have the advantage of knowing who the individuals are, through their registration, but not always, unfortunately. In the case of this article, there is an individual, who is accountable. (FYI, it is not anyone who is participating in the comments.) 

It is BenitoLink's intention to provide the opportunity for the community to engage with one another over the issues they are concerned about. We strive to mirror the community, though there are certainly viewpoints which have not weighed in to the discussion. 

Hopefully, through challenging each other's "facts" we can help the community arrive at a better understanding of the issue. 

I thank all who take the time to contribute their comments and only ask for respect for the views of others, even if you do not agree with them.

Mr. Clemons' writings have been influential in my life. How I wish that his voice would be heard in this discussion. What style and clarity he would bring to it. 



Submitted by (Will McGuire) on

Mr Reid, We can agree on that point, Samuel Clemmons would have had a unique perspective about this very subject "Whiskey is for drinking, Water is for fighting over", As for the contentious article, to avoid suspicions of conspiracy and other devious underhanded manipulations keep in mind that "Anonymity Breeds Contempt", an article such as this at this time was sure to stir emotions, the authors manage to stay above the fray. My feeble attempt to inject a little levity obviously struck some sensitive spots, and I think Mark Twain would have made note of that. I'll be away for some time so assume all will have returned to normal in my absence.

Submitted by (nancy gammons) on

the "jobs issue" is just a smokescreen to get people afraid. almost none of if own the mineral rights underneath our property, so there is no benefit to property owners for that. We are so seismically and water fragile, it would be a huge mistake to allow the oil and gas industry to spoil our corner of paradise. our health, and lifestyles depend on banning the oil and gas industry to rape us for profit

Ms. Gammons, you are correct in one aspect, the local oil industry does not provide many direct jobs; however, the indirect benefit for those commuting to work (which are jobs, some of the best for county residents) should be obvious.  I do not believe that $8 or $10 a gallon gasoline or diesel prices would be good for our economy, national or local.  Neither would the inability to provide the industrial-level energy the nation still needs until we can make other energy sources work well (and that is another argument wre should certainly have, someday).  

I do want to thank you for being blunt about your purpose by saying that you want to ban the oil and gas industry from raping us for profit and you want to prevent them from spoiling your particular corner of paradise. The fact is that this proposed ban is not really about fracking - that is obvious - you have a view of oil companies and you don't want them around you.

You are entitled to your opinion, but economic health of the nation or county is not about you, personally. I hope you support the Panoche Valley Solar Project; I do after they changed to responsible owners, but many good local people I know oppose it because they do not want it around them either some value the red-legged frog more than people.  I disagree with them just as I disagree with you.  If some people do not want oil drilling around and some do not want industrial-sized solar, or hydro, or geo, or tidal where it can be seen, or turbines where the birds migrate and everyone still uses energy, how can that possibly work?  It can’t.

It's about all of us - including the men and women of the nation's armed forces all over the world not able to live in any corner of paradise; they are guarding the foreign sources of energy we must access because we refuse to develop our own and it's about balance of payments and the freedom provided by economic choices, choices you want to remove by throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Marty Richman


Just to follow up on the commuting issue, according to the federal government our county residents bring in about $850 million a year in "earnings" from outside the county (earnings include the value of benefits and proprietorships as well as salaries and fees).  Economically, they call this the inflow of the residence adjustment.   FYI, our outflow is about $200 million a year, resulting in a net gain of $650 million annually.

So, commuting is vital to our economically for jobs.  More evidence is the fact that the major business group (sector) that generates the most sales taxes in Hollister is Fuel and Service Stations, about $180,000 a quarter in 3rd Qtr. 2013, followed by Autos and Transportation a little over $100,000 there.

Marty Richman

Submitted by (Will McGuire) on

Your statistics covering inflow and outflow of wealth due partially to commuting can be substantiated by government studies, however the assumption that most or all commuters purchase their fuel in San Benito County may be suspect, I know of no commuting residents in Aromas that normally buy their gas here and why should they, when they can buy it for a lot less in nearby towns? The workers that purchase their fuel and autos are likely to be local residents who see no advantage in driving to Gilroy to gas up, the exception probably would be Costco members, undoubtedly the inflow of wealth from Silicon Valley and elsewhere does trickle down into other sectors as well as various taxes but to say it's evidence that commuters are the main contributors to the gasoline taxes is just another fabrication unless you can substantiate it with facts.

Mr. McGuire, I can't say where any particular group is buying gas - although the city did have an outside consultant do that study a number of years ago as part of a much larger economic study - it was not my point.. The points are that we have a lot of commuters, according to the U.S. Census they have some of the longer commutes in the six county area, someone is buying a lot of gas to make those commutes and do lots of other stuff, and an unnecessarry restriction (scarcity) of oil will certainly drive up the cost of almost everything, especially gasoline, which will tank the economy.and the disposable income of the commuters no matter where they buy gas.

You see, I am assuming that you actually believe that this process poisons the water, therefore you would oppose it everywhere at all times throughout the state and nation and if you believed oil exploration poses a substantial earthquake risk you would not live in earthquake country in a state where this practice takes place.  You certainly realize that most of our earthquakes are not local or even in the county..  I drink the water that comes from the faucet, and I would not do that if I believed it was poisoned.

There is an old saying, "people vote with their feet" meaning watch what they do, not what they say. Mny of those who agree with your position have vehicles and other things that use fossil fuel and even if they had all-electric vehicles, batteries are hardly environmentally friendly and coal generates a lot of our power,.  I'vd been trying to get SBR's take on the Panoche Valley Solar Project, but no on will respond so far; it's local and solar, but it is opposed by various parts of the environmental community.

Consistency may be "the hobgoblin of little minds," as Emerson said, but  it sure helps when you are proposing radical change.

Marty Richman



Submitted by (Will McGuire) on

Mr Richman, You assume everyone associated with SBR thinks lockstep on every environmental issue, you also assume and have indicated a belief we are funded by a big liberal environmental group, you are wrong on both, we have paid for legal assistance from our own fund raising efforts, that in your mind is radical and to repeat your post, As Emerson said - "Consistency may be the hobgoblin of little minds but it sure helps when you are proposing radical change", You see Mr Richman, We are proposing radical change! - and the resistance remains quite consistent.

As for the Panoche Valley project, I've yet to hear anyone speak against it, I believe there are some problems with it now being worked out but I don't follow that closely and we don't have any "skin in that game" that I'm aware of, my own personal feelings it is a step in the right direction.

Will McGuire


If you had been following the Panoche Valley project you would be aware that there was a lot of opposition and those in opposition also claimed a whole rash of envirromental reasons for opposing the project.  The same is going on with large solar projects throughout California.  I do believe you have "skin in the game" if your proposal would reduce the availablity of fossil fuel at a potential great cost to the economy, shouldn't you either say, "too bad" so people know where you stand or offer a viable alternative?  The terrm "you" applies to the group if you are a member, not to you personally.

I believe you do not understand my position (I am not adopting any group position).  I am not pro-fracking, I am anti-ban at this time.  I do not beleive you have proven your case  and can find no reason to except a exteremist view to put a ban in place without seeing the state report due in 2015 and I do resent what I see as the use of scare tactics by some supporters.

It does concern me that the SBR crosslinks their source website with the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) which is an exteremist environmental organization whose stated goal is to prevent ANY use of shale oil and restrict fossil fuel use nationwide (inclufding natural gas) to 20% of proven reserves immediately.  It simply does not make sense to me.

I won't go into their other extreme views here, I will in the appropriate forum, but they are certainly NOT pro agriculture!  Anyone who claims that has never reviewed their positions on wildlife.

We mitigate all  sorts of threats in our society, but there is no attempt to mitigate whatever problems this process may present - and SBR won't wait for the report and without it they propose a total ban which would not even go into effect until after the report comes in.  Sort of reminds me of the time gone by when the medical profession did a lot of unjustified double mastectomies at the drop of a hat, "just in case."  The "cure" had a good chance of being much worse than the potential problem.

I  do not respect propaganda be it from the oil industry or San Benito Rising and that is about all I'm getting as offical  positions. I support solutions - water monitoring for all oil exploration / production  and  I oppose this ban, the right answer is to wait for the state's comprenensive report and refuse to be stampeded into ignoring the issue or adopting an unjustified radical solution.

Marty Richman


If you peruse the San Benito Rising web site and facebook page, you will find that the hard core environmentalist activists do believe that petroleum extraction should be opposed everywhere in the United States. 

These extremist views on energy production also want to dictate controls on all aspects of domestic life in order to meet their 'environmental agenda'. They want to fool just enough people/voters with misinformation to accomplish their eventual mission of a ban on petroleum mining in the United States regardless of the consequences.

They know that local, state and federal government actually support hydraulic fracturing as a safe means of energy extraction so they hire people to produce and distribute false and misleading mass media propaganda like the 'Gasland' films which conjure conspiracy theories of the government being owned and controlled by the oil industry. 

Someone recently pointed out to me that the San Ardo Oil Field is a large oil field in Monterey County. It is in the upper Salinas Valley, about five miles south of the small town of San Ardo. With an estimated ultimate recovery of 530,000,000 barrels of oil, it is the 13th-largest oil field in California, and of the top twenty California oil fields in size, it is the most recent to be discovered (1947). As you may know, the Salinas valley produces about $4 billion dollars of row crops a year. There is no cross contamination between petroleum and groundwater there. In fact, the biggest water quality problem in Monterey County is overdrafting the water table through crop irrigation so that salt water intrusion from Monterey Bay displaces potable groundwater and the water becomes saline/brackish. They also have high nitrates in the water in some areas probably from overfertilization of the soils. 

Extremist activist groups like Food and Water Watch and the Center for Biological Diversity have made residents of San Benito County the latest targets of a national disinformation campaign intended to scare them about the supposed dangers of hydraulic fracturing (which they call “fracking” to make it sound more scary).

As they have done elsewhere, these national groups have strategically aligned with local groups to make the effort appear “grassroots,” but the fact is that they are needlessly alarming people about a routine and well-understood well-completion technique that has been used more than 1.2 million times in the United States, including here in California, since the 1940s. The process, it should be noted, takes one or two days in the decades-long life of an oil or gas well.


Submitted by (Will McGuire) on

Again, reverting to the Oil Industry talking points, "Black is White"- "White is Black", "Fracking is Good" - "Fracking is Safe" - "Protecting the Water" is Extremist" - "Extremist is Radical" - "Radical is Conservationist" - "Obfuscation is Enlightenment" - Somehow I believe the voters of San Benito County will see beyond the twisted meanings and falsehoods perpetrated by the Oil Industry and its Puppet Pals, the Vote in November will return the Power to the People, the Power to decide whats in their Best Interest, this is a truth that cant be overridden by bold type - Emerson's remarks about "Small Minds" certainly applies here, my long gone father used to refer to those as (Educated Fools), meaning quite smart but with little common sense.
(Mr. Reid please note that to remain politically correct I haven't named any names here)

Mr. McGuire,

I do not believe you are seriously interested in discussing the issues or even defending the proposal you support. You appear, from this last entry, to be more interested in revolution than facts, so I leave you with a words of I.F. Stone as a caution to all revolutionaries, “Every emancipation has in it the seeds of a new slavery, and every truth easily becomes a lie."  Another, although I can't remember who said it, is about "power to the people" - if the people were in power most of those who believe in freedom would be in jail.  The meaning is that those who scream power to the people as some sort of revolutionary justification are as intolerant of dissenting views as everyone else.
If your object by this attitude and your insinuations was to run me off this specific 'conversation' because you have no real rebuttal you have succeeded, but I assure you have not run me off the subject.  You get the last word between us on this issue, I can do that because I believe I have made my point and I thank you for helping me do so.
Marty Richman 



Submitted by (Andrea Savage) on

Ugggh articles like this drive me nuts. Learn the facts: San Benitians dont want to look like San Ardo. We love our green pastures and farms. Bringing fracking here would hurt our economy terribly because we already have water issues (re: SJB only has one non-poisoned city well left due to nitrates). The people who will get those fracking jobs come from Montana and Colorado. Why would they take the time to train locals when they have rowdy travelling oil workers ready to go make their next big buck?? Protect California and our beautiful communities.


I would prefer to protect and preserve equal rights for everyone under the law; even for oil companies who provide the energy we use to power the computers we use and log on to the servers of this public forum. At the end of the day, we all use energy - usually produced in unfriendly foreign countries who control the value of the energy market - and no one on this forum has suggested that they want their monthly utility bills, gas/diesel prices and the price of food/agricultural/livestock produce to rise in order to fulfill your goal of 'protecting our beautiful communities'.

Protecting the environment is effectively practiced in San Benito County. Your belief system that only migrant workers and 'carpetbagging' petroleum companies will benefit from future natural gas and oil production is the product of environmental propagandist principles. But you are entitled to that opinion. We just disagree. 

Mike Smith 


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