Extremist Proposals will not help California’s economy get back on its feet

Catherine Reheis-Boyd
President of the Western States Petroleum Association

It doesn’t take long reading this site to see how our society is absorbing three crises: COVID-19, the economic meltdown and the long-overdue move for racial equality. What those crises have wrought is job loss, overriding fear, educational disruption and in some cases, overblown rhetoric. We see that rhetoric surrounding radical environmental change and new legislation like AB 345 which would disrupt oil production in California. The rhetoric is fueling policy changes that are neither warranted nor supported by the facts.

Just at the time when America needs gas, diesel, and jet fuel to keep America’s supply chain moving and provide the energy we need to get back to work, some are trying to pass new laws aimed at shutting us down. 

The language used to describe oil and gas companies’ operations in California is offensive, unfair, and wrong for all the reasons bias distorts rational discussion.  It ignores facts while attacking the thousands of men and women who work in our industry – men and women who are husbands and wives, mothers and fathers. They care passionately about the health and well-being of their children, families and neighbors as well as the children and families in the communities where they live and work.   To suggest otherwise is preposterous, maligning everyone who works in the industry.

Moreover, our California industry operations are the safest and most regulated in the world.  We operate under the strictest health and safety regulations and employ processes across our teams at every site to ensure we address any impacts and mitigate concerns. Nevertheless, some still argue that the Legislature must stop oil production because the work we are doing threatens the health of the communities in which we operate.  Not true.

We operate at every level in ways that protect the health of our workers, local families, and neighboring businesses. Attacks against the industry are outrageous for all the ways they fail to include a holistic accounting from scientists and health professional.  And just because we are in the middle of a pandemic, our critics should not be given space to make incendiary and groundless claims like “environmental racism” that make for dramatic headlines, but not sound policy.

All readers of this site deserve these facts:

Years of detailed monitoring and objective evaluation by multiple state and local agencies demonstrate that California’s oil and gas production does not impact health outcomes in California. A California Air Resources Board (CARB) Study of Neighborhood Air Near Petroleum Sources (SNAPS) monitoring at the Lost Hills Oil Field (one of the largest in CA) indicates that all measurements of emissions meet regulatory standards.

In 2011, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Bureau of Toxicology and Environmental Assessment conducted a health assessment of the communities surrounding the Inglewood Oil Field. They compared mortality rates, causes of death, rate of birth defects, and cancer in areas surrounding the oil field. The found that there were no statistically significant differences between the local community and the County.

Today, Californians everywhere are struggling from the pandemic, economic shutdown, and record unemployment.  It’s not the time for misguided legislative proposals like AB 345.

The California Chamber says AB 345 would result in the loss of 6,000 California jobs; cut $70-85 million a year from local schools and community colleges; and, cost California up to $4 billion in lost state revenue.  Some may not care about another 6,000 Californians out of work.  We do.

We will not idly stand by without giving Fox & Hounds readers the facts.  Let’s put our best minds together to help get our country back on its feet, not promote new legislation based on unscientific charges that will cost more jobs and throw up impossible roadblocks to our recovery. 

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