California has a rich history and pride in safe oil production. In June of 1865 pioneers eager to power our nation’s energy needs and growth struck oil for the first time in California. By the 1920’s California was a leading producer of oil in the USA. And even during WWII California’s Ellwood oil field near Santa Barbara was attacked by a Japanese submarine, the Japanese knew how rich California’s oil production was. But no problem…. Californian’s knew how important energy production was to the security of the USA and to winning the war. The people of California pulled their weight and more with pride. But fast forward to today’s California lawmakers who want very little to do with expanding and meeting America’s energy needs. Lawmakers in California have decided to try to make it difficult and more costly for America to harness the energy we all own in federal waters off California’s coast.
On Monday the California state Assembly passed SB 834, a measure that prohibits the State Lands Commission from allowing any new wharfs, piers, pipelines and other facilities in state waters from the shoreline out to 3 miles offshore that could be used to expand oil production. California lawmakers know this will shift the burden of oil production to others in America along with the 1000’s of jobs. Lawmakers in California also know California is the second largest consumer of oil in the United States, but feel better in letting the citizens of California pay some of the highest gasoline prices in the country.
Today the offshore oil industry is safer than ever with over 100 new safety regulations put in place since 2010. The industry has also created the Center of Offshore Safety the COS to establish a culture of working safe. The American offshore industry fleet of service boats are the safest and cleanest boats in the world. Today’s offshore oil drilling and production companies have invested billions in new state of the art technology designed to prevent and contain any spills and prevent accidents.
Currently California has 23 oil platforms in federal waters and four in state waters. Also off California four artificial islands are used as drilling sights. Even if California started new offshore drilling projects today it would mean decades of work for the citizens of California before production would begin.
While California lawmakers stifle expansion off the west coast developing oil production off the Atlantic coast is expected to support 265,000 new jobs and result in an additional $20 billion per year in new private investment within 20 years of initial leases.
The bill heads to the state Senate for a vote, and if approved there, it will head to the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown, who has opposed the construction of new state of the art oil platforms and the jobs they will bring to the California coast.