“Protect Our Water” campaign

Yes on Z. Credit: Courtesy of Protect Monterey County.

By Luana Conley, Protect Monterey County

The Protect Monterey County coalition’s campaign for Measure Z, the Protect Our Water: Ban Fracking and Limit Risky Oil Operations Initiative is in full swing. Impressive endorsements have been flooding in, including the Monterey Bay Central Labor Council, SEIU Local 1000, the California Nurses Association, the California Federation of Teachers, the Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity, the National Resources Defense Council, numerous elected officials, farmers, ranchers, student groups, business owners, and influential community leaders.

The campaign has been honored by separate visits from both Dolores Huerta, co-founder with Cesar Chavez of the United Farm Workers union, and Dennis Banks, founder of the American Indian Movement, to exhibit solidarity with the pipeline protests at Standing Rock, North Dakota.

Polling shows the YES on Z message wins when it is heard above the din of radio and television advertising by Chevron and ExxonMobil blanketing our airwaves. Big Oil also has paid armies working to oppose the measure, but hopes remain high that the negative impression of “fracking” and all that it represents will win the day, and YES on Z supporters are working the phone lines and canvassing in targeted neighborhoods.

Monterey County people intend to take their future out of the hands of Big Oil and corrupt government officials. We can decide via the initiative process whether the water upon which our life depends will be protected.

The Salinas River and the groundwater beneath it has always been the lifeblood of this region. Oil companies, including Chevron, ExxonMobile, and Shell, currently are pumping millions of gallons of contaminated wastewater from their oil operation into the aquifers that the people and the farms that are the “Salad Bowl of the Nation” rely on and must protect for future generations. This is all in violation of the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, but corporations seek and expect exemptions so they can continue their illegal and immoral contamination for profit.

Their irresponsibility pollutes our air, contaminates our water, corrupts our politics, and threatens an already seismically active region with increased threat of earthquakes.

Measure Z will ban fracking and acidizing, phase out wastewater injection, and stop the drilling of new oil wells that threaten the water, health, and future of this region.

The Salinas River, John Steinbeck’s “upside down river,” sustained life for thousands of years in this region. With the passage of Measure Z, it will continue to sustain life for generations to come. Water is Life.



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