SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY — Volunteers will begin gathering signatures today to place the “Protect Our Water, Air, and Land: Ban Fracking and Oil Expansion in SLO County” Initiative on the November 2018 ballot. The initiative is sponsored by the Coalition to Protect San Luis Obispo County, a group of local volunteers working to protect local water, air and soil from pollution while encouraging a shift toward renewable energy, as called for in the county’s General Plan.
“Today marks another important step forward toward a clean energy future in San Luis Obispo County,” said Charles Varni, co-chair of the Coalition to Protect San Luis Obispo County, who is also a local Surfrider Foundation volunteer and ceramic artist. “SLO County residents and visitors expect clean air, scenic vistas, vibrant agriculture and a safe and sustainable water supply. We must protect these precious resources by stopping the expansion of petroleum extraction and banning risky practices like fracking altogether.”
The initiative would amend the county’s General Plan, Local Coastal Program and County Code to prohibit using land in the county’s unincorporated areas for oil well stimulation treatments like fracking and acidizing. It would also prohibit new oil and gas well drilling land uses on unincorporated county lands. Under the initiative, existing oil and gas land uses would be allowed to continue, but not expand. The initiative also protects vested rights and allows the county to grant limited exceptions to avoid taking private property.