A bill to ban fracking was defeated in the California Assembly week before last at a vote of 37-24 with 18 abstentions. That method of getting oil out of the ground has been used here in California for only 60 years. I missed the news coverage of the vote so had to get caught up through the Wall Street Journal’s editorial, Fracturing in California.
The editorial points out that as you would expect the votes to ban energy development came from the wealthy coastal districts.
The votes to defeat?
Opponents were mostly from central California, areas that are poor and minority, with rates of unemployment of 12% or more.
The editorial points out the estimated oil in the field is about 15 billion barrels. That is twice the current estimate of Bakken field in the upper Midwest (including only the Bakken layer and upper layer of Three Forks).
Potential financial impact
The editorial mentions what fracking and a few more technical breakthroughs could mean for the state:
A study by University of Southern California scientists funded by the oil industry estimates fracking would deliver 500,000 jobs over the next several years and $24.6 billion in state and local tax revenue in 2020 alone. If those numbers are even close to accurate, drilling could be a financial salvation for a state that has $167.9 billion in long-term liabilities,
Possibly half a million jobs.
Around $24 billion in tax revenue.
Battle isn’t over
The editorial points out the battle over actually realizing those jobs and the tax windfall isn’t over. It’s always possible to derail the economy through regulation and lawsuits.
But the vote is progress. Maybe we can see more.
Hey, stop laughing at me. I can hope, can’t I?