Community Voices: Thank oil and gas workers

When I flip on a light switch, turn on my car, pick up groceries at the grocery store, or make it to work safely and reliably, I thank a California oil and gas worker.

The very foundation of our everyday lives, from how we power our homes and our supply chains to how we get ourselves to and from work, is thanks to the tireless work of the women and men of our industry. Thanks to them, Californians have access to a reliable, locally produced source of safe energy. This is no small feat, especially in light of the near-constant attacks on our state’s oil and gas industry and its workers.

Time and time again, we see our state’s leaders ignore real energy problems in favor of bashing our oil and gas industry and its people. Elected leaders in Sacramento steadfastly refuse to acknowledge that demand for oil and gas will not stop any time soon. Even leaders like Interior Secretary Deb Haaland see this. She said as much to The Associated Press this month: “We’re not going to say we’re not going to use oil and gas. That’s not reality.” That’s not a political statement. It’s just the truth.


I am proud to represent the people of our industry. I have spent my career advocating for policies that help our industry produce energy safely, responsibly and in compliance with our state’s comprehensive environmental regulations. It is discouraging to see vitriol and petty social media jabs thrown at the few elected leaders who do speak out on behalf of California’s oil and gas workers. We can and must do better if we are going to build an energy future that works for all Californians.

Everyone needs to understand that energy policy is something we have to get right. It must be based on facts. Here are a few:


Fact: The high price of gas, diesel and jet fuel is a product of high demand. Some leaders know this already — like those at the U.S. Energy Information Administration who continue to project the fact that petroleum and natural gas will remain the most-consumed sources of energy for decades to come. Let’s be realistic. Reducing supply, at a time of high demand, is not the way to reduce costs. We must be able to produce oil and gas in California if we want to reduce costs.

Fact: We will still need more oil and gas to power our state for years to come, even with the increasing usage of electric and alternative technologies. We need more refineries to operate in California at even higher capacities. President Joe Biden knows this. It is why he has spent so much time confirming that we must continue oil production and increase the capacity of refineries. As he said in his State of the Union speech: “We’re going to need oil for at least another decade and beyond.”

Fact: Blaming the men and women of our industry, of our community, and the people who advocate for them, is not going to solve our shared energy challenges. Industry is going to be a part of the solution to our energy future. Look at the scientists and experts making carbon capture and sequestration possible in Kern County. Look at our member companies making significant advances in alternative fuels and energy systems. These people are a part of the solution. Full stop.

We must also talk about the unintended consequences of running oil and gas production out of California. Some Californians can afford to make the transition to electric vehicles, electric stoves and electric heaters. But most cannot afford this luxury, especially not by 2035. Declaring oil and gas “obsolete” and forcing Californians to embrace an all-electric future is unrealistic. Policies pushing electrification and demonizing oil and gas production are ignoring the economic realities facing our communities and do nothing to support actual solutions.

So today, thank an oil and gas worker. They are fighting for all of our access to safe, reliable, affordable and ever-cleaner energy in California. And I will continue to fight tirelessly for the women and men of California’s oil and gas industry and advocate for policies that offer realistic solutions to our energy issues.


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Kern Citizens for Energy