In one of economic history’s rare moments of collaboration between labor unions and Republican energy development entrepreneurs, this unusual, but powerful alliance set California’ anti-business Assembly and Senate super majority back on its heels.
In this case, the rock-solid Democrat majority lost 12 of its Assembly members to join 25 Republicans to defeat an anti-fracking (oil and gas hydraulic fracking) bill that would have declared a moratorium against the use of this process throughout the “Golden State.” This defeat of the “greens” extremists is particularly remarkable since the California alliance of the Sierra Club with the “Air Resources Board” has been previously unstoppable. Utilizing its scare tactics, which included “fracking’s” ostensible responsibility for inducing earthquakes, along with the usual charges of water and air pollution, the anti-fracking moratorium seemed cruising to a lop-sided victory. This would have emboldened the national “anti-fracking” movement, whose main target continues to be the Trans-Canada XL oil pipeline, now in abeyance.
But the voting alliance between Assembly Democrats, representing blue collar union workers and the Republican proponents of oil/gas opportunism easily overrode the ultra-liberal San Francisco, Santa Monica and Malibu Assembly vote. Significantly, the anti-moratorium Democrat support emanated from Central California, comprised of a 12% unemployment worker rate. This group rebelled against the “elitists’” attempt to bar the energy employment and revenue-generating opportunities that could quickly reverse California/s ongoing slide into a deeper economic abyss.
This Liberal Democrat moratorium would effectively have stopped the fracking-induced current oil development in the energy-rich Bakersfield, Kern County area, throwing thousands of workers and hundreds of millions of dollars of taxable revenues into oblivion. The key to California’s turnaround and rebirth lies in the massive Monterey Shale, stretching from south of San Francisco to north of the greater Los Angeles area. Development of this field would dwarf the potential of the now world-famous North Dakota Bakken Belt, that has turned this once-barren state into a paragon of riches.
A recent study by the University of Southern California indicated that 500,000 new jobs and $25 billion of additional tax revenues could be provided by 2020 alone. This would, in effect, reverse the State’s unstoppable slide, having grown to close to a $170 billion debt and growing in long-term liabilities alone, without these contracts’ mounting commitments.
But don’t count out the ideological “climatological purist” extremists just yet. Their Assembly and Senate mouthpieces will try to use further regulations, and environmentalist lawsuits to throw additional hurdles in the way of salvation for a state that has been granted a “golden opportunity” to recapture the greatness of America’s once entrepreneurial leadership, as epitomized by “Silicon Valley.” Whether the financial backing of the “Hollywood ideologues” will prove successful in stopping this golden opportunity may set the stage for the ultimate showdown on allowing fracking nationwide. Illinois and New York, two other anti-fracking loser states, will be watching.
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