Commentary: Your thinking is required


love traveling within and outside California. One of my favorite parts of traveling is coming home to my nest in the beautiful nook of San Luis Obispo County. Honestly, I have found few rivals to our region, and I would say I’ve been a few places in my 60 years.

When family visits, we take them hiking on Montana de Oro and inhale the fresh coastal air; or we might go walk around Morro Bay, then go to the rock and watch the surfers — before eating at the boardwalk. We used to go to Avila and hang out, but now, despite the clean up we can’t be there without remembering the oil spill and about residues.

It came out toward the end of August that many of these sites I like to frequent in my leisure time are being opened up by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) as potential sites for fracking oil. This is not false information.

The BLM has put this map out themselves (eplanning.blm.gov) and then Los Padres Forest Watch also put out the map with clearer pictures (forestwatch.maps.arc.gis.com). There is a wide array of opinions on how much oil should be in our energy equation. I believe we need to be smart with our use of resources to balance the ratio of oil, electric, and others in a way that allows us to ensure that future generations don’t find the cupboard bare and full of rats when they go to use it. Yes, I’m a mom, so I can’t help thinking about what I leave for my as yet unborn grandkids!

Economically, we currently have under 50 people employed in our county working in Price Canyon. One of the war cries of big oil is that San Luis Obispo County is going to lose a lot of jobs for people if fracking is banned in our county. The company operating there would like to expand existing operations. When the easy oil is used up, fracking becomes a way to get at the oil. The weird thing is, the oil being pulled up is being exported, it is not for our use.

Even with a few more jobs, our community will lose, not gain by fracking being allowed locally. We will lose priceless things like potentially the quality of some of our aquifers, and definitely the quality of our region’s public areas and possibly habitat for wildlife, not to mention the views.   Imagine Morro Rock with an oil well!

Did you know that in granting an exclusion to the rules about using aquifers, as is required for new fracking, that seismic information is excluded from the review process? We can’t predict the impact of an earthquake on an aquifer and how that will affect the aquifers around it, but it is not even a consideration in granting the right to use the aquifer. It is not even looked at! Our drinking water comes from aquifers. Our babies bathe in water from aquifers. Think!!

Interestingly, since early establishment of law, it turns out that people have the right to control the use of land in local areas where they live. Not many people realize that. But they do have to fight for that right by paying attention, thinking and then acting with their votes. People who want to gain the right to use the land in others’ area to their benefit typically don’t forewarn that village that they are taking advantage of them in any way.

In November, you can say yes on Measure G. Yes means no-as in no fracking.

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