Senator Grove Reacts to Passing of SB 419

Bill to Require Union Workers in California’s Petroleum Industry

Senator Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) speaks in opposition of SB 419 (Stern) which passed off the Senate Floor today and would require California’s petroleum industry to use union labor. This critical industry which provides thousands of jobs to California families, gasoline for their cars, and is used in hundreds of everyday products, has been under sustained attack by politicians, including Governor Newsom. The Governor has announced his draconian plan to ban new fracking permits by 2024 and a proposal to end all oil extraction by 2045.

Proponents of SB 419 have made unsubstantiated claims that the bill will improve worker and environmental safety in the state’s oil industry.  However, oil producers already comply with the most stringent regulations, policies, and safety precautions at the local, state, and federal levels to ensure their operations are safe and not harming the environment.  Additionally, oil production in the Central Valley stretches back over a hundred years and is a way of life for thousands of workers -- some families have worked the fields for generations.  Well owners and employees work together to create the safest industry in the world.

“The facts are easily accessible, the U.S. Labor Statistics website highlights that the oil and gas industry has an extremely low incident rate compared to similar industries,” said Senator Grove.

An acceptable total recorded incident rate (TRIR) rate is 3.0 or less, the oil and gas sector is below 1. While other industries have struggled to stay within the acceptable incident limits established by United States Department of Labor, the oil and gas industry is currently in the lowest tier.

“Kern County produces 72% of California’s crude oil, and is home to five of the state’s largest oil and gas fields. Most importantly, these oil and gas companies provide employment opportunities to veterans, second chancers, women and people of color,” said Senator Grove.

“This bill is creating unnecessary regulations on an industry in hopes of creating a solution for a problem that simply does not exist.”

Kern County is proof that a vigorous gas and oil industry can coexist with a growing renewable energy economy. Since 2009 more than $59 billion dollars of private investment money has been spent on renewable energy projects in the county. More than 50% of the county’s energy needs are now met with these projects. Additionally, dozens of other projects are under development, including significant solar and battery storage projects.

“California’s oil and gas consumption has not been reduced, so for politicians to destroy these good paying jobs and import oil from countries with abysmal human rights and environmental records is completely irresponsible and counterproductive,” said Senator Grove. “SB 419 would make this problem even worse by forcing small and medium operators to shut down and will increase our reliance on foreign oil.”

In the last 20 years California’s foreign oil imports have tripled and the continued hostility to domestic production will only cause more reliance on oil and gas imports from foreign countries.

The state boasts some of the most stringent environmental regulations in the world, yet when oil and gas is imported from foreign countries such as Saudi Arabia, Ecuador, Columbia and Iraq their standards are abysmal.

Just a century ago, California was the top oil contributing state in the nation, at one time producing 40% of all oil in the country. Now California is down to a fraction of what it once produced and production is steadily declining. Still, the industry supports more than 350,000 good paying union and non-union jobs in the state.

SB 419 passed off the Senate Floor today.