School board members, teachers, nurses and public health advocates support Measure P with contributions and volunteer time
Endorsements are rolling in for Santa Barbara County’s Measure P, the Healthy Air & Water Initiative. Citing concerns about risks to the long-term health and safety of communities throughout the region posed extreme well stimulation techniques like fracking an cyclic steam injection, the California Nurses Association, which is the state chapter of the largest union and professional association of registered nurses in the United States, announced its formal endorsement of the measure this week. Nurses for Social Responsibility, Physicians for Social Responsibility, the California Water Impact Network have also declared their support for the measure.
“I am proud that as an organization, we have endorsed Measure P. As Registered Nurses, our patient advocacy extends to our communities, and Measure P will protect our natural resources for future generations,” said Tammy Hudgins, RN and Chief Nurse Rep; Marian Regional Medical Center Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit in Santa Maria, and Orcutt resident. “As a Neonatal Intensive Care nurse, I work with the most vulnerable of patients here on the Central Coast. They deserve to grow up in a healthy community, where our water, air and the farmland on which our food is grown, is clean and safe from the chemicals used in fracking and other extreme oil extraction.”
According to the EPA, oil production emits many toxic substance and known carcinogens, including benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (BTEX) as well as n-hexane and volatile organic compounds. In one study, University of Austin researchers found rates of childhood leukemia were significantly higher than expected near drilling operations in the suburban community of Flower Mound, Texas. Another recent peer-reviewed study from the University of Manitoba found a higher rate of cancer among populations living downriver from the Athabasca oil sands in Canada, where steam injection is used to extract heavy oil compounds similar to those found in Santa Barbara County.
“As a Registered Nurse at Marian Regional Medical Center, and resident of Santa Maria, I am concerned about the contamination of our water and air. As a community, we are the ones who will have to live with the consequences while the oil companies profit, and then leave us with a toxic landscape when the leave,” added Marian Regional Medical Center operating room registered nurse Joe Geiger.
With evidence growing around the public health risks associated with fracking, local and statewide public health advocacy organizations are also joining the Yes on P effort.
With evidence growing around the public health risks associated with fracking, local and statewide public health advocacy organizations such as Food and Water Watch local officials such as President of the Goleta Water District Bill Rosen and Vice President, Lauren Hanson, Carpinteria Water District Member Polly Holcombe and others are also joining the Yes on P effort.
Carolee Krieger, Co-founder, President and Executive Director of the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN) noted, "The California Water Impact Network endorses Measure P without reservation. We have seen the dire impacts of fracking on air and water quality in other parts of the country, and we want no part of it. Santa Barbara County cannot spare any of its limited water for such a destructive and hazardous process. Our economy is predicated on our region's incomparable natural beauty, clean air, splendid beaches and abundant recreational opportunities. We cannot sacrifice these irreplaceable resources simply to inflate oil company profits.”
Local teachers and school board members have also joined the effort to pass Measure P. New endorsements for the Yes on P campaign include Goleta School Board Members Susan Epstein and Luz Reyes-Martin and Santa Barbara School Board members Monique Limon and Kate Parker as well as Hope School District candidate Nels Henderson. Not only have they endorsed Measure P, but many of them have volunteered to make voter calls and walk precincts. School Board member Susan Epstein will host a precinct walk in support of Measure P in Goleta this Sunday.
Educators at the college level are also getting involved in the campaign. UAW 2865, which represents teaching assistants, tutors, and readers at UCSB, recently declared its support for the measure.
North County teachers are joining the effort to ban dangerous oil and gas extraction techniques in Santa Barbara County. On behalf of dozens of fellow North County teachers, Orcutt school teacher, Andy Houlik-Ritchey notes, “Measure P is our opportunity to head off this risky oil development that will expand closer and closer to our homes, schools and farms. This expansion would inevitably increase the number of spills and risks to water, increase air pollution and hurt our health. We are concerned about potential for elevated cancer and asthma rates and maintaining a healthy environment for our students. With thirty times more oil production in Kern County, per pupil school funding there ranks toward the bottom of the state. Increased production here is not going to help school funding.”
Dozens of area teachers and professors have made personal contributions to the Yes on Measure P campaign, reinforcing the importance of passing the measure to those who work directly with children and are focused on future generations.
For a full list of Yes on P endorsements, go to http://www.voteyesonp.org/endorsements.