The passage of Senate Bill 1132 from the Senate’s Environmental Quality Committee is neither a surprise nor an indication that this poorly written legislation is gaining support.
While the theater of SB 1132 plays out in Sacramento, SB 4 is already the law of the land throughout California. Last year, Governor Brown signed into law regulations that received strong bipartisan support in the Assembly and Senate. Many of those “rallying” around SB 1132 voted for SB 4, the strongest and most stringent regulation on hydraulic fracturing in the country.
Anti-oil activists are attempting to push hydraulic fracturing moratoriums in Sacramento and in local governments throughout the state – a strategy that just suffered a major setback. Their tactics include spreading misinformation about water use, chemicals, industry transparency, and jobs.
Shockingly, the anti-oil camp’s attacks on oil production reached new lows last week when several of the leading ant-oil groups took aim at petroleum industry workers when they dismissed as unwanted and unworthy the hundreds of thousands of jobs our industry supports. This disappointing tactic was summed up in the headline of a recent letter to the Los Angeles Times: “Some jobs aren’t worth it.”
Of course the petroleum industry cares about California’s environment and water supply. This is why we believe SB 4 provides important and necessary oversight. Hydraulic fracturing is not just a new industry fad that was concocted for the sole purpose of harming humanity. The reality is quite the opposite. Lost in the hysteria is the historic fact that hydraulic fracturing has been employed in California for nearly six decades without environmental incident or hazard. It is why the United States is experiencing a welcome and rewarding energy renaissance that is benefiting consumers nationwide and dramatically improving our nation’s energy security.
What you might not be aware of is every single government regulatory agency and jurisdiction responsible for ensuring that energy production is conducted safely has concluded hydraulic fracturing does not present unreasonable or unmanageable risks to the environment, water quality, seismic activity or any other environmental risk fact.
This list includes the President of the United States, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Governor of California, the California Department of Conservation, the State Water Board and the California Geological Survey.
At the end of the day, this comes down to what you believe: theater or facts.
Where does the petroleum industry stand on SB 1132 and other statewide moratoria? Energy providers agree with scientists, academics, farmers, labor, royalty owners, industry employees, and regulators that hydraulic fracturing is a safe technology, a current and future jobs creator, a contributor to state and local economies, and one that should continue in California thanks to SB4’s comprehensive, “good science” approach.
Just to be clear, we also agree with last year’s bipartisan Legislature that stood up to make SB4 a reality.
If we stay focused on the facts – and refuse to fall victim to hysteria and bad theater – California’s environment, economy, and domestic energy supply has a bright future ahead.