Once the polls closed at 8:00pm and the first returns from the Santa Barbara area were announced, the No on P Campaign knew it was already over, they had won.
“Tonight the No on P campaign is greatly humbled by the election results” said No on P campaign communications director Jim Byrne, “we would like to extend our thanks to the citizens of Santa Barbara County.”
The No on P strategy was to frame the ballot measure as a referendum on the future of all oil and gas production in Santa Barbara County and the devastating impact the measure’s proposed ban on high-intensity extraction methods like steam injection would have on local jobs and county government revenues.
Those behind Measure P said it would not affect existing onshore oil and gas production in the county and said it was about protecting groundwater basins and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from high intensity production like steam injection.
“The citizens of Santa Barbara County have confirmed their support for this industry as an important part of our community”, Byrne said, “providing thousands of jobs and tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue each year for our schools, fire protection and other vital public services.”
The No on P campaign had very deep pockets with millions of dollars in financial support from the oil and gas industry which maintained a steady media blitz of ads urging voters to reject the ballot measure in order to save jobs.
By comparison the mostly grassroots Yes on P campaign spent only a few hundred thousand dollars.
“This measure has been a real referendum for working people”, said Michael Lopez with the Plumber and Pipe fitter Union Local 114″, whether they are union or non-union, this to us has not been about republican or democrat, or union or non-union, what this has been about is working people.”
Observers said if Measure P had passed it would have resulted in the loss of hundreds of good paying local jobs, mostly in northern Santa Barbara County.
“With the oil industry, they go out there and they try to do things right, especially here in the county where they are so highly regulated”, says pipe fitter apprentice Nick Harvey, “and really support the working class and the middle class families which is people like me, I have a wife, I have a daughter.”
“We had a lot of rank and file members who got out there and really jumped on board”, Harvey says, ” a lot of guys and gals from the building trades saw this was a really poorly written initiative, it was an attack on the middle class and we stood up and said hey, we’re not going to let you take our jobs.”
“With over 18 federal, state and local regulatory bodies overseeing production, Santa Barbara County’s onshore oil and gas production operates within regulations that are among the strictest in the world”, Byrne said, “onshore oil and gas production has operated safely for over a century in the county and today voters have reaffirmed their desire for safe oil and gas production to continue.”