Thursday, October 2, 2014     Volume: 15, Issue: 30

Weekly Poll
Should Buellton put an electronic billboard along Highway 101?

No: It would be tacky and unattractive.
Aren't there laws against that?
Yes: Buellton needs to bring in more tourists.
I don't live there; I don't care.

Vote! | Poll Results

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Santa Maria Sun / Letters to the Editor

Measure P is racist

Marlin K. Brown - Santa Maria -

If passed, Measure P will throw several thousand oil workers, mostly (more than 70 percent) Latino, under the bus.

The handful of well-off, white liberals who launched this move do not care about Latinos. They are out to “save the planet” (HA!) by shutting down oil production in Santa Barbara County. So if they wreck thousands of families, if they throw thousands of Latinos out of work, they can rest peacefully because they are “helping people.” If they even think about the thousands of people they are harming right here—their neighbors—you can picture them saying, “They can go back to picking strawberries.”

Harvesting nature’s underground bounty is work that offers a high wage and upward mobility to Latinos. Let’s not deny them that ladder to success in the name of some wrong-headed move to kill the oil industry.

Vote no on P!

Worry about oil and cancer

Amy Anderson - Santa Maria -

Oil drilling has been linked to cancer, as well as many other health problems, for people forced to breathe the toxic, chemical-laden air in neighborhoods near wells. And when these wells leak—and there are always some leaks—there’s the hazard of these same chemicals entering the water supply, and they have.

Need proof? A 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 they are using steam injection and other high intensity techniques. The study also found high concentrations of carcinogenic PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) and heavy metals—like arsenic, mercury, cadmium, and selenium—in kidney and liver samples of wildlife.

According to the EPA, oil production emits many toxic substances, including benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (BTEX) as well as n-hexane and volatile organic compounds. Benzene alone is a carcinogen known to be associated with leukemia and other cancers. In one documented case, after parents raised concerns about excessive cases of childhood leukemia in the suburban community of Flower Mound, Texas, University of Austin researchers found rates of childhood leukemia were significantly higher than expected near drilling operations in the community.

A lot of people say if you can’t pronounce it, you shouldn’t eat it. Well, if you can’t pronounce it, you shouldn’t bathe in it, drink it, or breathe it, either.