CA’s Brown Faces Big Test over Shale Oil Fracking
It’s an interesting time to follow California politics.
Last month, Democratic Governor Jerry Brown announced that, thanks to the voter-approved tax hikes from last November, the state looks poised reap budget surpluses for the first time in years.
But instead of using those projections as an excuse to restore funding for programs pared back by budget cuts, Brown is promising to set aside the money in a rainy day fund.
Moody’s and S&P rewarded Brown’s announcement by upgrading California’s credit rating.
Now Brown faces an even bigger test.
There’s an estimated 15.4 billion barrels of oil in California’s Monterey Shale formation, or four times as much as North Dakota’s Bakken Shale reserves. Another way to put it is that California is home to two-thirds of America’s projected shale oil reserves. Opening it up would be a game changer for the nation’s oil security and California’s economy.
But here’s the rub, according to Walter Russell Mead:
The intrigues in this drama are many. Does California’s Democratic Party come down on the side of low income Californians, who desperately need the jobs and state services new oil extraction will fund? Or does it come down on the side of a green lobby that is heavily backed by some of the wealthiest people in the state? To what extent does the wealthy coastal elite control the future of the inland poor in California? Can the GOP use the issue as a wedge to rebuild its credibility in a state it once dominated? Will black gold bail out big blue California?
Bring lots of popcorn. This is going to be a terrific show.