California has passed Senate Bill 1137, which will prohibit drilling of new oil and gas wells and reworking of existing wells in certain areas.

Here is SB 1137 in legislativese (analysis comes first, then the text):

Here, in small part, is what the Bill does:

The Bill defines “sensitive receptors” as Hollywood A-listers and Stanford law students and their VP of DEI scolding who cannot tolerate voices they don’t agree with “residences, education facilities, day care centers, colleges and universities, community resource centers, healthcare facilities, live-in housing, prisons and detention centers, and any building housing any business open to the public.” The Bill is silent on porta-potties.

A “health protection zone” is any street in San Francisco not covered in syringes and human fecal matter a 3,200-foot radius around any sensitive receptor.  

The state’s oil and gas regulatory agency is prohibited from approving a permit to drill or rework a well within a health protection zone except for very limited circumstances.

An applicant for a permit to drill or rework a well within a health protection zone must include a sensitive receptor inventory map of the area and a myriad of other plans and information.

The Bill unleashes the full weight and authority of the Air Resource Board and State Water Board to adopt, implement and enforce a host of what one would expect to be burdensome and costly regulations.

Indemnity bonds, in addition to the current blanket bond, will be required.

Failure to comply to the new law will be a crime.

Reaction to the Bill

The Legislature passed it by a substantial margin; Governor Newsom heartily supports it; OPEC+ hasn’t said, but one would suspect they are in favor; the usual suspects support it: Natural Resources Defense Council, Central California Environmental Justice Network, EarthJustice, Sierra Club of California, and Voices in Solidarity Against Oil in Neighborhoods.

The industry has raised millions of dollars in support of a referendum to veto the Bill that will be voted on in the general election ballot in 2024. The referendum is supported by the California Independent Petroleum Association, the Construction Trades Council of California, and scores of small producers, service companies and royalty owners.

CIPA warns “If implemented SB 1137 we increase California’s already high gas prices by decreasing our energy supply and replacing it with expensive imported foreign oil that tankers must transport from countries that do not uphold the same environmental or labor standards.”

Having paid $3.25 for a gallon of regular in Dallas last month and $4.75 the next week in LA, I sympathize with the middle class whose energy bills will become even more unaffordable.

Greenpeace and the MSM blame the veto effort on their reliable villain, “Big Oil”.

And the MSM gets it wrong in several ways. Texas did not impose buffer zones and MSNBC omitted the ban on reworking permits.

What of the future?

According to the California Chamber of Commerce, good-paying oil and gas-related employment in the state will be lost; wealth for small operators, service companies and royalty owners will be destroyed; tax revenue will diminish.

According to the Wall Street Journal in 1982 California produced 61.4% of its oil consumption and imported 5.6%. Those numbers in 2019 were 29.7% and 58.4%.

California’s oil imports come mostly from the Middle East and South America, unregulated  producers of dirty oil such as human-rights abuser Saudi Arabia and Amazon forest destroyer Equador. These are places with policies Californians claim to disdain. California will be potentially greener and cleaner, and definitely poorer, and the exporters will be dirtier and richer.

Your musical interlude.