California Shuns Black Gold

From an Orange County Register editorial:

"Part of the intentional destruction of the California economy is raising energy prices," Myron Ebell told us; he's the director of energy and global warming policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. "You have the highest gas prices of any state outside Hawaii. Now you don't want to drill offshore and are running out of Alaskan oil. You're well on your way to killing your economy."

He said that the first thing California politicians should do is to work for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, in the northeast corner of Alaska, to "refill the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, which currently is running at below 50 percent of capacity. But your senators and representatives in the House won't vote for that." He pointed to the obstructionism of Democratic Sens. Barbara Boxer, chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the subcommittee on energy and water.

And right here in the Golden State, he said, we can pursue the black gold ourselves. Up to 12 miles out to sea, the state of California owns all the royalties – if we had the will to pass the laws to allow it. "All you have to do is go a few miles offshore," Mr. Ebell said. "Some geologists think it is one of the biggest oil fields in the world. You could boom like Texas." He said nobody knows the extent of any oil reserves for sure. And drilling might well turn out to be disappointing.


But it gets even better. Mr. Ebell said that the oil riches likely extend well beyond the 12-mile limit. Currently, the U.S. government owns those oil royalties. But it could split the difference with the state 50-50, and California again would enjoy a windfall. Maybe the windfall would be so great that we could – hold your breath – actually cut income or sales taxes.