Senator Grove Introduces Bill to Prioritize the Production of Oil in California

Senator Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) has introduced Senate Bill 1319which would implore the Legislature to prohibit the import of crude oil into California if the source of the oil is a foreign nation with demonstrated human rights abuses, or a foreign nation with environmental standards that are lower than those in California. The measure would also require the Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGem) to report on its website the amount of particulate matter released into the air from tanker ship emissions from oil imported into the state in an effort to highlight the air quality impact from the state’s dependence on foreign oil. 

In 2020, California was the seventh largest oil producing state in the nation with an average production of 391,000 barrels each day, 142 million barrels a year. All of the oil and gas produced in the state is consumed by Californians. However, the state’s demand for oil is 1.8 million barrels per day, or 675 million barrels a year, which means if oil stays around $100 a barrel consumers will send $50 billion a year to other countries to make up the difference with imported oil. 

“Governor Newsom’s energy policy has been to favor importing oil instead of producing it domestically,” said Senator Grove. “Remarkably, more than a thousand drilling permits are currently awaiting approval by CalGem. Approval of these permits would expand production in the state, generate thousands of high paying jobs for Californians, improve our state’s energy security, and be done under the world’s most stringent environmental standards.”

Petroleum is used for more than just the gasoline supplied to the 30 million cars driven by Californians. More than 6,000 everyday products are made from petroleum such as shoes, phones, toothbrushes, eyeglasses, heart valves, disposable diapers. According to the California Independent Petroleum Association, California’s industry directly supports 55,000 jobs which average $123,000 in annual pay. The average salary in California is $63,783 per year, about half that amount.

“California’s top three sources of foreign oil are Ecuador, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq,” said Senator Grove. “This puts the state’s energy security in the hands of countries that are actively hostile to California’s values when it comes to human, labor, and environmental rights. Almost 600 tanker ships spewing millions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere are needed to meet California’s demand, when much of that oil can be produced here in California, by Californians.”  

Currently, the number one source of foreign crude oil is Ecuador which has been strongly criticized by environmental and indigenous groups for its practice of clear cutting the Amazon to produce more oil. Half of all crude oil produced in Ecuador, 55,000 barrels a day, is exported to California. The amount could easily be replaced by California’s in-state producers if they were allowed to expand production. Saudi Arabia and Iraq are annually highlighted by the US State Department, as well as groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, for the deplorable human rights violations in the two countries.

SB 1319 would bring back to California the thousands of jobs that have been lost to foreign countries that do not share our democratic values or respect for the environment. California can produce much of the oil we import, and keep the jobs and revenues inside our Golden State while protecting our environment. 

SB 1319 will be heard April 5 in the Senate Natural Resources Committee.