As state agencies in Sacramento move to restrict in-state oil and gas production, longtime Central Valley residents say the region’s resiliency is driving efforts to protect the local economy.
In a new tv ad series, a firefighter, school teacher, and a fourth-generation farmer all note how the Valley is already facing big challenges – including high unemployment, wildfires, and schools in need of resources – so the community feels it must push back when its largest industry is under attack.
The ads, organized by the Central Valley Coalition for Energy and Jobs, note how the oil and gas industry is the “bedrock” of the Central Valley economy, providing more than 30,000 local, high paying careers and $300 million in annual tax revenues for first responders and local schools. In total, the oil and gas industry in the Central Valley contributes more than $1 billion in tax revenues to state and local governments. But new regulations and moratoriums imposed by the state mean less production, lower tax revenues, and fewer job opportunities for the region.
Alongside the new ad campaign, more than 90 local officials and organizations have submitted a letter to Governor Newsom asking him to recognize the impact of the new policies in the Central Valley, where job cuts are already taking place.
“We understand the state’s goal of broadening our energy mix to a greener economy. As this process occurs, we ask that you fully understand the implications on jobs and the people here in the Valley and take the steps necessary to protect them,” the letter states.
Economists and experts agree that restricting local oil and gas production only results in greater imports of foreign oil to meet California’s growing energy needs. Californians send $25 billion each year overseas for foreign oil supplies that are produced under far less stringent environmental and public health protections than in-state oil and gas.