You don’t have to realize any benefit from humongous amounts of oil in the ground.
California isn’t. California doesn’t want to.
A great Wall Street Journal editorial summarizes Texas wanting oil and getting much wealth while California doesn’t want either: A Tale of Two Oil States.
The editorial says Texas pumps more oil than the next four largest states combined and could double their production by 2016 and triple in another decade. Production in California is declining.
The editorial points out there about 400K oil jobs in Texas but only around one-tenth that, or 40K, in California.
Warning: sarcasm alert. I try to avoid destructive humor. When I look at foolishness about energy, ridicule obviously becomes a great tool to point out the foolishness.
There is a lot of oil here:
The Department of Energy estimates that the Monterey shale contains about 15 billion barrels of oil, which is about double the estimated supply in the Bakken.
Let me translate: there are 2 Bakkens worth of oil in just the Monterey formation. Two. In just Monterey.
That’s maybe 60,000 or 80,000 jobs. Those jobs would run for 2 or 3 decades. We could triple our production of oil.
Why is production from California dropping instead of accelerating like in Texas and North Dakota?
A large part of the explanation for the Texas boom and the California bust is the political culture. Despite their cars, California voters have elected politicians who consider fossil fuels to be “dirty energy.”
That’s exactly correct. We don’t want the oil. We don’t want the jobs. We don’t want the downstream economic stimulation. We don’t want many extra billion dollars of taxes going into the state coffers every year.
What’s the end result in Texas?
The energy boom is creating thousands of jobs related to drilling but also in downstream industries such as transportation, high-technology, construction and manufacturing. The Texas jobless rate is 6.4% while California’s is still the third highest at 9.4%.
We’re fine with 9.4%.
And the tax money?
“oil and gas production generated $12 billion in [Texas] state taxes in 2012.”
That’s okay. We don’t need any extra money here. We can instead just let another 10 or 100 thousand prisoners out of jail and let college students stretch to 7 or 8 years to complete a 4 year degree instead of 6.
What could be, if we wanted it?
California has the natural resources and technical expertise to be the next Texas if it wants to be. What it needs is the political will.
A booming economy? Naa, that’s okay. We don’t want a booming economy. We very clearly do not have the will to make it happen.
So the oil remains locked in the ground, as one million Californians look for work, as its schools and roads deteriorate, and as it keeps raising taxes to balance the budget.
That’s fine by us.
Instead the eagles die.
And people keep looking for jobs that don’t exist.
And our politicians are happy and smug.
And that’s okay with everyone.