SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -

Santa Barbara could become the first major oil producing county to impose a ban on fracking.

Santa Barbara County Water Guardians -- a grassroots environmental group -- pulled up to the county registrar's office today with nine boxes of petition signatures.

More than 20,000 were collected in just three weeks in hopes of imposing a ban on fracking.

Environmentalists claim chemicals involved in fracking are associated with serious health problems, as well as air and water pollution. And they say drought conditions make the process worse.

"These forms of extraction are very water intensive," said Rebecca Claassen, the group's volunteer co-chair. "They use a lot of water and they also pose a risk to our groundwater, as far as contamination goes. Here in California this is an important issue if we want to protect our water supply for agriculture."

13,200 of those collected signatures must be certified. If the group collected enough, county supervisors can adopt the initiative or place the measure on the November ballot.