JUNE 8, 2011 TODAY’S WEATHER
Wind: W 10-15 kts. Swell: West. 4-6 ft. Temp: 56° F Tide: Low: 8:41 a.m. Low: 9:09 p.m.
High: 3:48 p.m. High: 2:31 a.m.
NASDAQ: 2,702.56 -30.22
Patchy Fog, Mild 71°
DOW: 12,089.96 -61.30
DAILY SOUND EDITOR
County faces fracking issue
VOLUME 6 ISSUE 111
The Santa Barbara City Council voted Tuesday to oppose any new laws that would make meetings more accessible to the public. Councilman Dale Francisco
led the charge saying that state’s open meetings law is already too strict, and that a quorum of council members should be able to meet in private to discuss city matters as long as the final vote is done in public.
“There are problems with the Brown Act,” Francisco said. “Most people in the public have no idea how much it limits the ability of elected officials to discuss issues.” Francisco later said, “what I
am suggesting is that most of the important legislation in the United States, including the U.S. Constitution, could not have happened under the Brown Act.” Passed in 1953, the Ralph M. See BROWN ACT, page 5
New devopment not so
‘Fresh & Easy’
Santa Barbara City Councilwoman Michael Self plans to formally announce her reelection kickoff party at 5:30 p.m. Thursday on the steps of City Hall.
Francisco speaks out about Brown Act changes BY JOSHUA MOLINA
Self kicks off re-election bid
Sunrise: 5:46 a.m. Sunset: 8:09 p.m.
Council wants closed meetings It’s your town ... this is your paper TM
Council wants smaller footprint SEE STORY BY JOSHUA MOLINA, PAGE 3
The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors got an earful from angry landowners about the safety of new oil and natural gas drilling techniques on Tuesday.
Sheriff deputy injured in crash
A Santa Barbara County Sheriffʼs Deputy was injured in a crash Monday night, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Montecito rehab sanctuary shot down BY SAM TYLER
DAILY SOUND STAFF WRITER
A special care facility called Santa Barbara Healing Sanctuary, with ties to Pacifica Graduate Institute, has been forced to cancel the opening of a new residential treatment program at 720 El Bosque Road in Montecito.
About a dozen neighbors indicated their concern at Tuesday afternoon’s meeting of the Montecito Association’s Land Use Committee, but it was not their presence that put a hold on the innovative program; rather, Sanctuary officials had to stop because of what they said was bad
advice from a land use consultant. The Sanctuary had been assured by the consultant, whom it declines to identify, that a special use permit would not be required for the El Bosque location because it was exempt under Article 35 of the County Code. This article allows programs
with six or fewer clients to function in residential neighborhoods. The catch is that such programs must be licensed by the state. The Sanctuary does not have such a state license. “When we found out from the See SANCTUARY, page 6
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Landowners angry over Venoco fracking BY NICK C. TONKIN
DAILY SOUND CORRESPONDENT
• INDIVIDUALS • SMALL BUSINESSES • SELF-EMPLOYED
The very best in affordable and professional tax preparation
Responsive • Prompt • Detail oriented Ronnie Morris, CRTP
Morris Financial Consulting
805805.682.5465 682-5465 - •Ronnie@ronniemorris.com email@example.com Bookkeeping | Business Financial Analysis | Tax Planning
JERAMY GORDON Founder & Publisher
AARON MERCER, General Manager (805) 564-6001 x 3507 • Aaron@TheDailySound.com JOHN LEONARD, Senior Account Executive (805) 564-6001 x 3504 • John@TheDailySound.com JOSHUA MOLINA, Editor (805) 564-6001 x 3501 • JMolina@TheDailySound.com PATTY ENGEL, Marketing Maven (805) 564-6001 x 3505 • Patty@TheDailySound.com ALLEN FELD, Legal Advertising (805) 564-6001 x 3509 • Allen@TheDailySound.com VICTOR MACCHAROLI, Photographer (805) 564-6001 x 3508 • Victor@TheDailySound.com ZAC ESTRADA, Copy Editor (805) 564-6001 x 3508 • news@TheDailySound.com Newsroom Contributors: AMY BENNER, MICHAEL BOWKER, LYZ HOFFMAN, GARY LAMBERT, JEREMY NISEN, ELLIOT SERBIN and NICK C. TONKIN
411 East Canon Perdido, Suite 2 Santa Barbara, CA 93101 PH: (805) 564-6001 • FAX: (866) 716-8350 CENTRAL COAST CIRCULATION (805) 683-1669
SEND LETTERS to letters@TheDailySound.com. Please include your name, phone number and street address for verification purposes. Please limit letters to 250 words.
ADVERTISERS please check your ad for accuracy the first day it runs. The Daily Sound’s liability for ads shall not exceed the value of the first day’s ad.
' Copyright 2006-2011 NODROG Publications, LLC. All rights reserved. Printed on recycled paper
The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors got an earful from angry landowners about the safety of new oil and natural gas drilling techniques on Tuesday. Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is the process of removing oil and natural gas from deep rock layers by drilling down and pumping fluids down to create fractures in the rock. The fractures help release oil or gas, which is pumped back up to the surface. The issue drew attention in Santa Barbara County when Venoco Inc, an oil drilling company, received citations for using hydraulic fracturing without proper approval. County energy deputy director Doug Anthony outlined the basic concerns over fracking. Fracking fluids contain many chemicals which could potential contaminate ground water. Extensive fracturing of rock layers so deep underground could also have seismic complications. There is also little in the way of regulation regarding fracking. Chemicals in fluids aren’t disclosed and fracking is exempt from certain federal regulations such as the Safe Drinking Water Act. While the California Department of Conservation has some jurisdiction over fracking, no policy has been set up. The board was scheduled to hear from Elena Miller, oil and gas supervisor for the California Department of Conservation, but the meeting was delayed until August. The presentation and instructional video explaining hydraulic fracturing left some supervisors underwhelmed about the drilling technique. Second district supervisor Janet Wolf said the video gave her “chills”. While acknowledging that she wasn’t a scientist, Wolf said she found it difficult to believe fracking wouldn’t have longterm environmental consequences. “In 10 or 15 years, people are going to look at us and say, ‘What was wrong with you people?’” Wolf said. Others were more open minded. Fifth district supervisor Steve Lavagnino felt the board should reserve judgment until all the facts were in. “I think before we go out and get our torches and pitchforks, we’ve got to get
Platform Holly is one of Venocoʼs biggest producers.
away from the hypothetical,” Lavagnino said. “I don’t think good public policy is made from anecdotal stories.” But when it came to public comment, landowners, environmentalists, and industry representatives proved to be far more polarized than the board. 4th District Supervisor and Chair Joni Gray had her hands full trying to keep many of the nineteen speakers inside their time limits. Tom Prendinlle, representing the family who owned a north county ranch Venoco drilled on said claims from the industry about fracking’s safety shouldn’t be taken at face value. He said farms in Pennsylvania and New York have been rendered uninhabitable because of contamination associated with hydraulic fracturing and complained the lack of disclosure made it difficult to conduct independent investigations. “We have no idea what these chemicals are that are going into the water so we can’t even test for them,” Prendinlle said. Tupper Hull, a representative of the Western States Petroleum Association, asserted that companies have strict operating procedures, conduct regular tests, and there has been little to question the safety of fracking.
DAILY SOUND / File Photo
“There really has never been any evidence of harm to groundwater from hydrafracking,” Hull said. Jimmy Dominguez, a landowner, disputed that. Dominguez said companies have admitted to contaminating ground water. Dominguez also pointed out that tampering with groundwater means tampering with the billion dollar agricultural business. “You don’t mess with a billion dollars and you don’t mess with water,” Dominguez said. Lindsey Reed, a Los Alamos landowner near where Venoco has set up shop, also cited the importance of agriculture to the local economy. “Imagine what would happen with California’s strawberry and wine industry if word got out that crops were being irrigated with water contaminated by chemicals,” Reed said. Bob Field, Santa Ynez resident, raised another concern about the amount of water used. Fracking uses groundwater as a base for the fluid. Field said with groundwater the sole source of water in parts of the valley, there may not be enough of it to go around. “It’s not as simple as environmentalists versus oil companies,” Field said. “We’re all dependent on this resource.”
Daily Sound Wednesday, June 8, 2011