The 2014 mid-term election season proved to be an eye-opening and important one. In reflection of the important county measures to ban fracking, California Student Sustainability Coalition would like to address the results and highlight how the organization will move forward with these legislative outcomes.
Measure J – San Benito
The community of San Benito has won a huge victory, setting the precedence for the rest of California. Measure J has passed and the county will now prohibit hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, and all other related gas and oil extraction activities in area. With only 24,000 registered voters, this community has successfully confronted the big oil companies attempting to degrade their water, land, and community. Last Spring, San Benito Rising needed to collect 1,642 valid signatures to get its initiative on the ballot, they successfully received over 4,000 signatures. Their dedication to bringing attention to fracking and to passing Measure J is impressive and inspiring. This community has successfully banned extreme fossil fuel extraction before a boom was able to get going, let us all take note. San Benito’s success empowers the rest of California to stop oil companies from dominating our state, and to continue the journey toward a just and thriving future.
Measure S – Mendocino
Mendocino County successfully passed Measure S, a ban on fracking and all related activities in the region. The language in Measure S is centered on empowering the community and their rights to natural and chemical free ecosystems, a clean environment, and self-government by the people void of manipulation from corporations. This measure is inspiring as it upholds the rights for communities to have safe, clean, and liveable environments above corporate influence and political special interest.
Measure P – Santa Barbara
After a challenging race, Measure P, the initiative to ban fracking, cyclic steam injections, and acidization in Santa Barbara County, failed to pass. The loss speaks volumes to the amount of money spent by oil companies to maintain control by manipulating the democratic system — spending $7.6 million into campaigning against Measure P — clearly, our political system holds money in higher regard than the health of its people. These corporations, represented by the group named Californians For Energy Independence, are determined to continue making profits, regardless of how extraction negatively impacts communities, water, and land. Though the measure did not pass, it was not easily lost. Community members and groups, such as Santa Barbara County Water Guardians, worked tirelessly to spread the word and get support for this important measure. More now than ever before, we are inspired to stop the injustices associated with extreme energy extraction and to move away from our dependence on fossil fuels. To continue the fight in Santa Barbara County stay involved with the Santa Barbara Water Guardians. Along with this, Students Against Fracking will be working to build support for and develop strategy with this community by learning from the campaign leaders that were successful in passing a ban.
CSSC Next Steps
In lieu of the above election results, CSSC is excited to continue working on ending extreme energy extraction in California. By empowering youth, the future generation of leaders, CSSC will continue to work for a just transition — one that includes viable renewable energy solutions, stable economic justice, and an end to destructive extraction operations. We are determined and steadfast to achieve solutions now. Moving forward, we will continue to be focused on the following
- Working to further establish California as an international leader focused on shifting our energy sources and economic structure from fossil fuels to local, renewable energy opportunities.
- Providing and building programs for youth and students to expand sustainability programming on their campuses and in their communities by unifying efforts with frontline communities most impacted by the dangers of fossil fuel infrastructure.
- Continuing to pressure our government officials and leaders to make legislative, investment, and social decisions that will take into account the impending consequences of climate change.
- Develop a statewide student network focused on developing real solutions for our energy needs and economic stability.
- Improving partnerships with Move to Amend/ Wolf PAC to get money out of politics so that real decisions, not paid ones, can be made in local, state, and national elections.
The work starts now. Join CSSC efforts today!