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Monterey, Calif. September 20, 2016 – Protect Monterey County today released a review by Jannette M. Barth, Ph.D. of the Pepacton Institute, which finds that a June oil Industry report exaggerates the economic benefits from oil and gas production, while underestimating or ignoring the costs associated with its operations.

“This review by a noted economist shows that the oil and gas industry report is highly biased,” said Robert Frischmuth, a retired engineer from the fossil fuel industry and volunteer with Protect Monterey County. “It is a PR hit piece against Measure Z, not a balanced look at the economic pros and cons.”

Among the industry report’s inaccuracies:

  • It misrepresents Measure Z as a ban on oil production in Monterey County, when the initiative, in fact, bans only new oil operations.
  • It exaggerates the importance of the petroleum industry to the Monterey County economy. The U.S. Census County Business Patterns database shows less than 300 petroleum production jobs in Monterey County. In contrast, agriculture supports more than 76,000 jobs in the County.
  • It ignores the cost to local government from potential water, soil and crop contamination as a result of wastewater injection into aquifers and from other oil drilling activities.
  • Other costs not factored into the economic analysis include repairs to infrastructure, impacts on tourism and increased demands for first responders, police and other emergency services.
  • It ignores research showing that oil and gas production is not consistently positive for local economies, and, that in at least one state with extensive oil and gas development, more than 25 percent of local governments have seen their costs increase
  • The report does not address the likely negative impact of oil production on property values.
  • Nor does it address the costs of increased climate change caused by the oil and gas industry on the local community.

Measure Z was placed on the November 8 ballot following a successful volunteer petition campaign by the nonprofit citizens group Protect Monterey County. The measure would ban fracking and prohibit the current practice of injecting toxic wastewater into the Salinas Valley aquifer, which is in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act. It would prevent drilling new oil wells, while allowing reworking of existing wells.

The Report, Review of Economic Impact Assessment of Monterey County Ballot Initiative, is available on line.

Protect Monterey County is a grassroots group of residents of the Central Coast region who are taking action to protect our water.