A job is more than just a regular paycheck. That money pays bills, buys medicine when a child is sick, cares for a family, and provides self-worth. 

With the security of a job, families can afford better housing, food, education, and other necessities, contributing to a better quality of life.

California’s oil and gas industry comprises 55,000 hardworking men and women who get up every day and do the hard work so that we can get to work, drive our children to softball practice, and help our local economy. 

Most of these 55,000 hardworking men and women only have a high school education; some are second chancers, and many are people of color. 

With an annual average income of $123,000, oil and gas jobs provide a significant source of income for workers. They offer stability and security, helping them support themselves and their families. For many of our energy workers, these jobs provide a pathway to the middle class.

This past month, Los Angeles Unified School District went on a three-day strike. Union leaders were fighting for higher pay because the support staff makes an average of $25,000 a year, and many live in poverty because of the low income. 

Here we have an energy industry, where the average pay is $123,000, and nearly 50 percent of the workers only have a high school education or equivalent. These energy jobs are union jobs with benefits. For most Californians, making $123,000 a year is life-changing. 

But these energy jobs are in danger. Several politicians and activists want to shut down California’s oil industry and force our state to import oil from other countries. They want to end these 55,000 high-paying California jobs and ship them to other oil-producing countries such as Ecuador, Angola, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. 

Rock Zierman with the California Petroleum Associated wrote:

California-produced oil is also the only crude in the world compliant with the state’s climate regulations. Our oil producers must follow the state’s greenhouse gas reduction programs and account for all emissions, but oil imports are entirely exempt from these regulations. Foreign countries don’t pay local taxes that fund police, fire, roads and schools, nor do they support local projects like affordable housing and higher education scholarships. 

How much will gas prices increase if 15,500 existing California wells are shut down and the supply shifts to imported oil?

Nearly half of all electric cars in America are sold in California, yet petroleum demand has steadily increased over the past decade. In 2012, California’s petroleum demand was 598 million barrels. In 2019, it was 659 million. 

How will we meet oil demand for the foreseeable future?

If “California Logic” wasn’t backward enough, in the name of climate change, these politicians and activists want to end oil production in California to save California’s atmosphere. But somehow, they believe that shipping oil on a tanker across the globe to our California ports and trucking it to our refineries is less impactful to the environment than producing it here. 

California already has the world’s strictest environmental, health, and labor laws, and our oil producers must account for every emission. How is destroying the Amazon good for the climate (50% of all the oil from the Amazon Rain Forest is currently shipped to California)? How much more will gas cost our families if we import oil from across the globe (some of California’s largest oil imports come from Ecuador, Africa, and the Middle East)? What would be the financial impact on gas prices if the Saudi family decided to decrease oil production again (they did that in October 2022 and March 2023)? 

It comes down to a simple decision. Should we cut California jobs and pay foreign nations to import more oil, or should we continue to produce here under the strictest guidelines in the world?