Anti-Fracking Law with Large Support Failed after International Oil Giants Invested in Campaign

This piece ties the two trends of relaxing campaign finance limits and disclosure laws and tightening voter id laws and explores potential solutions from various government entities

Salon: “An expensive battle was fought here, in Santa Barbara, over Measure P, which would have banned fracking. The measure was seen as a litmus test, since Santa Barbara rose to national prominence in 1969 after a massive offshore oil rig blew and spilled into the ocean. For eight days, 100,000 barrels of a dark oleaginous substance leaked into hundreds of square miles of water, tarring 100 miles of coastline and killing thousands of fish and fowl. The tragedy drew network news cameras that showed graphic images of oil-caked pelicans and dead otters. “It was heartbreaking,” said activist Pat Robertson. The national outcry spawned the birth of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Water Act and the modern-day environmental movement.

“So, the passage of an anti-fracking law in the birthplace of the environmental movement seemed like a slam dunk. Yet, international oil giants funneled money into a misleading anti-Measure P effort, according to Lauren Hanson, vice president of the Goleta Water Board. And the measure failed.

“At least we know why, thanks to California’s solid political cash disclosure law. Now, voters everywhere are rising up to urge their state legislatures to follow suit so they can learn who’s stuffing their ballot boxes, metaphorically speaking. What if Washington, D.C., adopted a comprehensive disclosure law? In 2010, Congress came within one vote of overcoming a party-line filibuster to pass the DISCLOSE Act. Since then, the need for improved transparency has only grown more urgent and it’d be nice if the Republican Congress would adopt a donor ID law. (Don’t hold your breath, said Demos’Liz Kennedy.)”

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