The controversy over repairing and upgrading California oil wells seems absurd. 

California oil producers must secure approval from the California Department of Conservation (CalGEM) “before constructing or operating a new well or modifying an existing one. CalGEM thoroughly reviews each permit application for adherence to health and safety rules, environmental rules (California Environmental Quality Act), and other state laws and guidelines. The Division relies on science and sound-engineering practices in its permitting and oversight responsibilities.” [Emphasis added]

Bakersfield Californian reporter John Cox stated that “reworks can serve different purposes, from repairing existing wells to bringing them back up to earlier production levels.” [Emphasis added]

But as Cox wrote, “anti-oil activists have called for the Newsom administration to ban such work anyway by exercising the same sort of discretion the governor has used to impose a de-facto moratorium on the controversial well-completion practice known as fracking.” [Emphasis added]

Rock Zierman, with the California Independent Petroleum Association trade group, responded, “We don’t think CalGEM has the discretion to deny permits that have to meet all the requirements of the law and regulations. That would be arbitrary and capricious.”

Imagine if the radiator on your car or truck began leaking, and anti-oil activists wanted the State of California to stop you from repairing or replacing the radiator because your car uses gasoline. How many gas-powered cars, trucks, or other vehicles would be sitting on the side of the road? 

If California’s oil industry didn’t repair or upgrade its facilities, hundreds would be taken offline. What would happen to the 55,000 energy workers and their families? How would California meet its current oil demand? What would happen to gas prices? How would this impact the transportation costs of food, building materials, and every item shipped by UPS, FedEx, or Amazon? 

It is no secret that some state legislators and activists want to end oil production in California and transition everyone to an electric vehicle. That energy transition should be driven by demand rather than by force. These activists forget that electric cars are made with petroleum-based products, including the body and tires. Also, how do you plan to drive that electric car without asphalt, also petroleum-based?