Members of San Benito Rising, a local group focused upon protecting the environment, filed with the San Benito County Clerks office a ballot initiative to ban extreme extraction methods from San Benito County.
The following residents of San Benito County signed the intent to sponsor the ballot initiative:
Paul Hain (Farmer and Rancher, Tres Pinos, CA 95075), Ann Marie Sayers (Tribal Chairperson, Hollister, CA 95023), Margaret Morales Rebecchi (Retired Teacher, Hollister, CA 95023), Tony Boch (San Juan Bautista City Council Member, San Juan Bautisa, CA 95045), Jan Saxton (Small Business Owner, Aromas, CA 95004)
The group now plans to collect the1,642 signatures of voters registered in San Benito County necessary to place the measure upon the November 4, 2014 ballot. It is their intent to collect 3,000 by early May, to have a safe buffer of valid signatures.
The language of the ballot measure was drafted by the group's attorneys, Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger, a premier environmental law firm based in San Francisco.
Mary Hsia-Coron, one of the coordinators of the effort said,
"We are hoping to catalyze a statewide effort… We are following in the footsteps of New York state, where 159 communities adopted either a ban or moratorium on fracking, and forced the NY state legislature and Gov. Cumo to pass a moratorium on fracking. Other states like Colorado are also pursuing this strategy — first community Longmont, CO passed a ban on fracking in 2012 and in Nov 2013, four out of four Colorado communities adopted a ban/moratorium even though they were outspent 23 to 1 by the oil and gas industry (who spent $225,000 on average per community)."
"Our first priority is to protect the water and health of San Benito County's residents and natural environment. We also want to preserve our agricultural and tourism economy so that we can build on it to create a prosperous, sustainable economic future. Secondarily, we hope to inspire other communities in CA to stand up for themselves and adopt a ban. We were recently contacted by a few other counties inquiring about our ballot initiative and we've been giving them advice."