The Truth About Fracking
Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, has been a staple in California’s energy production for decades, and Californians, especially those in Kern County, have greatly benefitted. For example:
- 71% of all oil production in California comes from Kern County.
- Oil and gas generates nearly $1B in state and local tax revenues.
- Nearly 366,000 good-paying California jobs are supported by this industry.
Despite the importance of this industry to Kern County and California, Governor Newsom and President Biden have made their intentions to eliminate oil and natural gas clear. Governor Newsom is planning to ban new hydraulic fracturing by 2024 and end all gas production in California by 2045, while President Biden has issued an Executive Order to “pause” new oil and natural gas lease sales on federal lands. The latter was recently enjoined by a federal court, and yesterday I led a letter to the Biden Administration calling for the immediate resumption of lease sales.
Newsom’s decision is also disturbing given that recent reports indicate that he is sharing inaccurate information regarding hydraulic fracturing’s significant role in oil production as a whole. He has repeatedly claimed that hydraulic fracturing “accounts for less than two percent of California oil production.”
However, various studies and even environmentalists suggest that the number is too low – fracking accounts for 16% to 25% of California’s total oil production. And of the oil produced from fracking, 97% comes from Kern County according to the Western States Petroleum Association.
In order to stave off bad policy that disproportionately affects our community, the Kern County Board of Supervisors voted to oppose Newsom’s fracking ban, calling it “an attack on the [oil and natural gas] industry.” Our local leaders continued their fight, sending a letter to the Newsom administration saying this proposal will adversely impact the County’s ability to provide responsibly developed energy needed for a “prosperous and clean California.”
The United States and California have some of the toughest environmental laws on the books, including State regulations specific to fracking. These myriad requirements – which are often onerous, duplicative, and drive up the cost of energy in our State – are designed to help ensure oil and natural gas produced in California respect our environment and air quality.
Rather than banning fracking or pausing new traditional energy production, producers should be allowed to develop the domestic energy resources that power our community, State, and nation consistent with current laws and regulations.
It would be in California’s, and especially Kern County’s, best interest to use our country’s natural resources in an environmentally respectful way, by Americans and for Americans, rather than rely on energy from foreign sources.