Bills Leading to Higher Fuel/Energy Costs Get OK from Assembly Policy Committee

Three California Chamber of Commerce-opposed “job killer” bills that substantially hinder oil and gas production in the state, driving up fuel and energy prices, passed an Assembly  policy committee this week.

All harm the job market in these sectors and amount to moratoriums on hydraulic fracturing.

AB 649 (Nazarian; D-Studio City) and AB 1323 (Mitchell; D- Los Angeles) prohibit hydraulic fracturing and the use of fresh water in hydraulic fracturing for some or all oil and gas wells until the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) reauthorizes the practice under a new regulatory scheme, if at all, in 2019.

Similarly AB 1301 (Bloom; D-Santa Monica) imposes a moratorium on the use of hydraulic fracturing until the Legislature reauthorizes it through subsequent legislation that limits the conditions under which it can be conducted.

Coalition Opposition

The CalChamber and a coalition of industry and employer groups opposing the bills point out that they would arbitrarily prohibit the use of safe, proven hydraulic fracturing technology to develop supplies of oil and natural gas vital to California’s economy.

In doing so, the bills potentially increase energy costs, jeopardize jobs and eliminate a source of future revenues to the state and to local governments. Economic recovery and growth require adequate supplies of reliable, affordable energy. By obstructing an important means of growing California’s in-state production capability, these bills will necessitate increased oil imports, raising the cost not only of fuel but of manufacturing, agricultural operations, public transportation and all goods and services that are energy-dependent.

Competitive Disadvantage

This will in turn place California businesses at a competitive disadvantage, impede job growth and suppress property, income and excise tax revenues. This significant, untimely burden on California’s businesses and economy is unnecessary. Oil and gas production as a whole is heavily regulated and monitored, and hydraulic fracturing has been used here for decades with no reported incidents of harm to the environment or public health.

Further, the bills ignore current efforts on the part of the Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources in the California Department of Conservation to collect information and regulate hydraulic fracturing.

AB 649, AB 1323 and AB 1301 will not provide added public health or environmental protections, but will increase business costs, hamper California’s economic recovery and deprive the state of much-needed fuel, jobs and tax revenues indefinitely.

Action Needed

AB 649, AB 1323 and AB 1301 passed the Assembly Natural Resources Committee on April 29. They will be considered next by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Contact your Assembly representatives and members of Assembly Appropriations and urge them to oppose AB 649, AB 1323 and AB 1301.