Friday, June 28, 2013
McCarthy: Overbearing and restrictive regulations are hurting energy production in California, where we still import half of our crude oil despite abundant reserves
"When I travel around the Central Valley, I see tremendous opportunities in harnessing our region’s energy potential. I’ve lived in Bakersfield my entire life, and being from Kern County, one grows up understanding that energy is vital to the health of our economy and way of life. It powers our classrooms, cools our homes, and allows parents to drive children to practice.
We are fortunate to live in a region blessed with an abundance of traditional and renewable energy resources. And with cutting-edge technological advances, we have the ability to safely and innovatively produce and develop these resources, and catapult California – and specifically, Kern – into economic growth and prosperity.
"A figure I’ve talked about frequently on this blog is that over 70 percent of California’s oil and gas – 10 percent of the national total - is produced right here in Kern County. And this is just the beginning; recent findings uncovered that the Monterey Shale formation holds one of the world’s largest onshore reserves of shale oil, with experts predicting it has roughly 15.4 billion barrels of oil. It has not even been touched yet.
"And yet, as one of the top energy consuming states, California is growing increasingly dependent upon imported oil. For example, in 2012, 50 percent of California’s crude oil was imported. With known untapped resources at our disposal like the Monterey Shale, this is unfathomable. And while some in this state point to an increase in domestic oil production nationally, that increase in energy production has come from private lands – not federal lands.
"In addition to limiting public land use for energy production, overbearing and duplicative regulations have made it virtually impossible for local energy companies to survive, much less succeed. Imagine the potential that could be unleashed if we approved commonsense energy policies that unshackled our domestic energy resources. It is my goal that we capitalize on our resources in an environmentally respectful manner so that we can boost our regional economy, expand the influence of energy produced by Californians and reduce unnecessary energy dependence.
"These are some reasons I supported two commonsense pieces of legislation, the Outer Continental Shelf Transboundary Hydrocarbon Agreements Authorization Act (H.R.1613) and the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act (H.R. 2213), which passed the House with bipartisan support this past week. By removing federal government barriers blocking off-shore energy production and expanding domestic production possibilities in the Gulf, these two bills can help America transform energy potential into tangible results, including stabilizing fuel costs, creating over a million new jobs and strengthening the economy.
"I believe in energy made in America, by Americans, and for Americans. Kern is already a crucial energy source for California and the nation, and our county is poised to lead our state and country towards an energy renaissance that will power our economy and alleviate foreign dependence. Instead of limiting potential, government ought to create an environment that allows growth. This week’s legislation and more pro-energy legislation coming in the House is a step in the right direction.