CALIFORNIA’S ECONOMIC CHALLENGES
If California could afford to import a resource that it has in abundance, this meeting would not be taking place. However, the reality of California’s economic condition today is that the unemployment rate is one of the highest in the nation, public education is ranked 49th out of the 50 states, and social services are being cut back drastically – at an alarming rate.
Californians are also paying the highest gas prices. Gas has recently climbed back up to $4 dollars plus at the pump, a cost that is devastating to those who must drive to their jobs. Many of us here have heard the argument that if we were to develop offshore California reserves, it wouldn’t impact the price of our oil at all because it’s an internationally priced commodity. Others are of the opinion that if we were to develop these offshore reserves – and all of the US reserves for that matter – it would send an immediate signal to the international community, and we’d see the impact of that at the gas pumps. Producing the US energy reserves would increase supply and drive the price of oil down. More importantly, producing California’s offshore reserves would put the state on the road to energy independence and greatly decrease the nation’s dependence on foreign oil.