I just learned of the passing of Bud Woods. I remember him as the cheerful manager of Fillmore's Safeway market when I first came to town in 1989. I haven't had the opportunity to read his obituary, but I will always remember him as a very conscientious, outgoing man, always willing to assist his customers with a friendly smile. He was a good man. Rest in peace, Bud.


I've always been a strong "fair market" conservative. I think, with all its faults, capitalism is the best economic system yet devised. So I support projects which keep it humming along.

Fracking is one of those great inventions which has turned America away from the dreaded economic cliff of Peak Oil. Most knowledgeable oil men, not too long ago, warned that the time of oil scarcity had arrived. It looked like we were running out of oil and would fall into infamous OPEC hands. This was described as Hubbert peak theory, which still makes a lot of sense - except for the timing.

All of a sudden America was the world's largest oil producer, or soon will be, thanks to the invention of something called fracking. Basically, it is a method of extracting the most oil by forcing water into oil producing areas. It was revolutionary.

Fracking has its enemies, however. Earthquakes have been attributed to fracking, and the fear of contaminating clean drinking water is another concern. Both concerns have been raised by the fracking that is going on north of Fillmore, about 2 miles above our Sespe Basin aquifer. If our aquifer was contaminated, the city would lose its main water source, possibly forever.

Years ago, in a conversation with then (now deceased) prominent hydrologist Ted Bear, I was told our aquifer was one of the deepest in the country. I guess the confluence of the Santa Clara River and Sespe Creek make it so. It's fairly brackish, but certainly free of oil and its dangerous parts. I'm also told that, due to our deep aquifer, Fillmore City has never known a true drought. For the most part we have been self-sustaining for more than 100 years.

Area oil fields have also been with us for more than 100 years, though not nearly as long as we have enjoyed an abundance of clean water.

So, I'm happy with the new success we have had with fracking; it has set us free from the threat of Middle East blackmail - as in the 1970s oil embargo - when we couldn't find gas.

But the issue of extending fracking in the oil fields just a few miles above our Sespe aquifer is alarming. It would no doubt be a huge financial gain for Seneca, but it would be a Russian roulette gamble for the City of Fillmore. Any incursion of oil, by fracking itself, or an earthquake, could possibly cause a catastrophic contamination of the aquifer, which could destroy Fillmore's water source forever.

From what I know, the Seneca company has an exemplary reputation for running a clean operation in the hills above Fillmore. I've taken a tour of their fracking operation and it is squeaky clean. They show special concern for the condors in their area as well.

While I admire Seneca's conscientious business ethic, my concern for the future health of our aquifer, and the risk posed by fracking even closer to our water source, forces me to oppose the proposed extension. The move to extend the operation so close to the aquifer is a gamble that should not be taken. The threat of future contamination, even years into the future, is simply too dangerous, and if it should happen, it could never be fixed.