This is a couple of weeks old, but I missed it. It seems that even in oh-so-green California, home to militant environmentalists and a liberal super-majority in state government, the economic benefits of fracking are clear to a majority:
Democratic leaders brought their fracking moratorium bill to the Assembly floor last week, and their rank and file revolted. The bill lost 37-24, with 12 Democrats joining 25 Republicans to defeat it. Another 18 Democrats abstained, and it’s a good bet they were “no” votes who didn’t want to publicly cross their leadership. This was a rare rout of the Sierra Club and other greens that denounce “fracking” for polluting water and inducing earthquakes, among other horrors.
What’s most interesting is who voted on the fracking moratorium. Those representing the rich, urban elite wanted the moratorium. Those representing the poorer, more rural areas (the farming and ranching communities who supposedly have the most to lose to fracking) supported it:
The votes for the fracking ban came mainly from the wealthy, mostly white Democratic coastal districts—San Francisco, Santa Monica and Malibu. Opponents were mostly from central California, areas that are poor and minority, with rates of unemployment of 12% or more. …
A study by University of Southern California scientists funded by the oil industry estimates fracking would deliver 500,000 jobs over the next several years and $24.6 billion in state and local tax revenue in 2020 alone. If those numbers are even close to accurate, drilling could be a financial salvation for a state that has $167.9 billion in long-term liabilities…
This is a big deal as California, historically one of America’s top oil producers that has seen a decline in production in more recent years, just found out they’re sitting on top of the Monterey Shale Formation which promises at this early stage to be several times larger than the famous Bakken formation here in North Dakota.
That’s a big economic opportunity for the state of California, and it seems for now most of the state leaders would rather avail themselves of it than see the opportunity lost to environmental dogma.