As the legislature convened Governor Newsom’s special session to tax oil production and increase the cost of gasoline, Senator Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) announced the introduction of Senate Bill 15 to encourage the production of environmentally responsible oil in California. SB 15 would implore the Legislature to realize that much of the crude oil imported into California comes from foreign nations with demonstrated human rights abuses, or foreign nations that have environmental standards lower than those in California. The measure would also require the Air Resources Board to report on its website the amount of particulate matter released into the air from tanker ships that import oil into the state in an effort to highlight the air quality impact from the state’s dependence on foreign oil.
Last year, Senator Grove introduced a similar bill, SB 1319, which passed the Senate unanimously but was held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. SB 15 was introduced in the regular session and also the special session as SBx1 3.
“If the Governor and legislative Democrats are serious about lowering the price of gasoline in California, they should immediately pass SB 15,” said Senator Grove. “Why would we import millions of barrels of dirty oil from countries hostile to our values when we can produce environmentally clean oil right here, while creating good paying jobs and improving our energy supply?”
California is the seventh largest oil-producing state in the nation. Of the 1.8 million barrels of oil consumed in the state each day, less than 400,000 are produced by in-state workers. All of the oil and gas produced in the state is consumed by Californians. However, the state’s demand for oil means consumers will send more than $25 billion a year to other countries to make up the difference with imported oil. The top two countries California imports its oil from are Saudi Arabia, where women are not allowed to drive, and Ecuador where the Amazon Rainforest is being bulldozed down to meet the demand for California’s consumption.
“Much of the oil we import could be replaced by California’s in-state producers, providing California jobs, if we were allowed to expand production,” said Senator Grove. “By relying on expensive foreign oil imports, we have placed California’s energy security into the hands of countries that are actively hostile to California’s values when it comes to human rights, labor rights, and environmental rights.”
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, and 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.
SB 15 would begin a process to 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 and securing our energy supply.
SB 15 will be heard by a Senate policy committee sometime in April, while SBx1 3 can be heard immediately in the Special Session.